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MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 



MR. SPROUTS 



HIS OPINIONS. 



BY 



RICHARD WHITEING. 



LONDON: 

JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, PICCADILLY. 

1867. 



p/?57^5 



32 3 & 



LONDON 
SAVILL, EDWAEDS AND CO., FBINTEES, CHANDOS STBEBT, 
COVENT GAEDEN. 



EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 



To Robert Coningsby, Esq. 
Dear Sir, 

Mr. Sprouts has commissioned me to dedicate 
this book to you; for it was you, he says, who first 
urged him to write it. At the beginning of the year 
1866 the town was startled by Mr. Greenwood's 
account of his "Night in a Workhouse;" you then, 
it appears, suggested that as middle class had been 
to see low class, low class should return the visit- 
hence the " Night in Belgrave-square," the first of 
this series. The public having tolerated one of Mr. 
Sprouts's effusions, that gentleman easily persuaded 
himself tnat it would bear with a repetition of the 
offence — hence the remainder of the papers. Mr, 
Sprouts having been quite new to letters when he 
began to write, his spelling is, to say the least, eccen- 
tric, and its eccentricity has been much increased by the 
author's trick of spelling the same word in various 
ways, his object being, as he says, to give every method 
a fair chance. Practice, however, has done for Mr. 



vi EPISTLE DEDICATORY. 

Sprouts's orthography what it does for every other 
improvable thing in the world, and the last of the 
" Opinions" will be found much easier reading than 
the first. Whether, the more the book becomes intel- 
ligible the less it will be found worthy of the reader's 
attention, neither you nor I can determine ; but I am 
sure that its author has your best wishes, as you, dear 
sir, have mine. 

Very truly yours, 

RICHARD WHITEING 



CONTENTS. 



A NIGHT IN BELGRAVE SQUARE 

MR. SPROUTS' S COURTSHIP 

A SATURDAY CONCERT 

A NIGHT IN PARLIAMENT . 

ON THE BEAUTIFUL 

THE DERBY DAY 

LORD MAYOR'S DAY . 

CALAIS 

BOULOGNE 

PARIS. A WORKMAN'S BALI 

PARIS. A FRENCH FETE 

PRIZE-FIGHTING 

ON GLORIOUS WAR . 

CHIGNONS 

THE WHITEBAIT DINNER 
THE TRADES' DEMONSTRATION 
MR. DOULTON's MEETING 
MY REFORM BILL 
MRS. SPROUTS AT THE OAKS 
BETSY IN "THE HOUSE" . 
A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET 
THE FAMINE IN INDIA 
A FEW CRUMBS 
A CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION 



PAGE. 

I 

12 

20 
26 

34 
41 

5° 
59 
67 

74 
82 

9* 

100 
109 

113 

121 

129 

137 

144 

J 53 
162 

174 
182 
189 



MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 



A NIGHT IN BELGRAVE SQUARE. 

TT was jest about harf past seven as near as a toucher, 
-■* last Toosday night, when a little barrer might ha' 
bin' seen a drivin' round the corner of a street leadin' 
into Belgrave-square. 

The cove as druv it stops the donkey just afore they 
turned into the square, and another cove jumps down, 
as the sayin* is, in a twinklin' ; he was togged for all 
the world like a head waiter in a music-hall ; he'd got 
on a s waller-tailed coat, a slap-up pair of dark kickseys, 
and a hat with no shine on it as had been kivered with 
black cloth ; likewise he wore gloves carried in his 
hand. 

" How do I look, Jem ?" says he. 

" Slap up, old feller," says the other. "Good-bye ; 
gee hup, Neddy," he says to the donkey, and druv off. 
The cove in the black garments was me ; arid I'll tell 
you how it all come about. 

I'm a costermonger, I am, as can yarn a pound and 
pay his rent and things, with here-an'-there a one-, but 
what signifies boastin' ? Well, I give a bit of a party 
on Christmas Day, not half a bad 'un, though I say it. 
We'd done pretty well in greens and lighter wegetables 
durin' the week, tho' pertaters wasn't much account ^ 
howsumever, we wasn't hard up for a sov. There was 
just a nice lot on us. First there was me and the old 
woman and the seven children •, then there was the old 



2 MR. SPROUTS EIS OPINIONS. 

lady's sister and her husband as is in trade, keepin'a green- 
grocer's shop ; and a young feller my daughter's keepin' 
company with, and his second cousin what's under 
Government, bein' a lamplighter ; and there was gran'- 
mother and Mrs. Beccles rentin' my back kitching, by 
the same token bein' three weeks behind in her rent, 
and never mind, says I, arsk her hup, and let bygones 
be bygones on Christmas Day. 

Well, arter we'd had the goose and the pudden, the 
old lady puts the gin and chestnuts on the table and 
some more coke on the fire, and the young 'uns gits 
into the corner and has a game at lickin' the colour orfF 
some pretty sojers and sailors I bought 'em at the 
sweetstuff-shop in the court, made artificial like ; the 
two young people was a havin' a spell of talk together 
about goin' in a van to Hampton Court, and the rest on 
us was a sittin' round the fire a talkin' to one another. 

" Well," ses I, liftin' o' my glass up, " here's God 
bless us alt, them as is enjoyin' o' theirselves, and them 
as aint." 

" Amen to that," says the lamplighter. " Lord," he 
ses, casual like, " it's hard to think there's many a poor 
creeter without so much as a old jacket to pawn for a 
toothful o' juniper this day." 

" Ah ! and many as has got a drop," says the old 
ooman, " can't enjoy it ; what with natterin' and 
worritin' o' theirselves with this and that." 

"Well,. I fancy you're wrong there, old lady," I 
says. " Every cove as has brass enough to get a bit or 
a drop must be jolly in the natur' o' things." 

"Not a bit of it," says Brockey, the greengrocer. 
" If you was to see the gentlefolks together," ses he — 
he's waited on 'em, with his hands kivered with white 
kid gloves, and pumps tied with ribbon, which is quite 
the gentleman hisself — " not a bit of it," ses he. 
" If you was to see 'em a moonin' and manderin' about 
at what they calls their parties, it 'ud give yer the 
neuralgy. The fust party I went to they all seemed so 



A NIGHT IN BEL GR AVE SQUARE. 3 

cold like they give me the spasms : and I was obliged to 
take a drop o' summat; afore I could fetch my breath, 
as the saying is." 

I don't know how I come to think on it, but I broke 
out all of a sudden with a " Lor ! I'd give the price of 
a farden cake to go and see the poor miserable things." 

" Would yer ?" says he, snappin' me up in a minnit ; 
" I'm goin' to be a nextra down in the kitching at a real 
slap-up affair in Belgrave-square next week, and if 
you'd fancy to go," he says, " I'll put yer up to a 
dodge as '11 parse yer in." 

" Get a order for two while you're about it," ses 
the old lady. 

"It ain't done with orders," he says ; "this is it. 
There's a very curus old gentleman, a major from Indy, 
and his wife, which hates one another like pison, and 
is always a squabblin' together when they think 
nobody's there to hear 'em ; but afore company they 
make believe to be the most lovin' in the world. Well, 
they gives a dinner party now and then, and he's got 
his set o' people he likes and she's got hern, and he 
hates her set and she can't abear his'n ; so this time 
they've cum to a sort of agreement together. The 
major ses, ses he, 'Dam it, madam,' he ses, 'let's divide 
the honour,' he ses. 'We are goin' to ask fourteen,' 
he ses, ' and I'll get seven of my set, and you shall get. 
seven of yours ; I shan't ask no questions, and don't 
you neither. If you'll be civil to my friends, I'll be 
the same to yourn, and nobody '11 be none the wiser.' 
' Very well,' says she, ' agreed, on condition, she says, 
' that you don't ask to superwise my list, or grumble if 
I asks people you don't know/ ' Not a bit of it,' he 
says. ' I don't care who you ask. Only, don't you 
bother yourself about my people, either.' So that's the 
agreement; now, as I've happened' to hear from the 
footman as how one on 'em have sent to say he can't 
come, why, I'll tog you up like a lord, and you can 
easy slip in and take his place." 



4 MR. SPROUTS BIS OPINIONS. 

" Yes," says my old lady, " but then they'll find him 
out." 

"How?" says he: "the old lady '11 think he's a 
friend o' the major's, and the major '11 think he belongs 
to the old lady's set, and they'll both be awful civil on 
that account, and if he keeps hisself quiet he'll pull 
through it rattlin'," says he. 

Well, I felt a little narvous at first, but havin' talked 
so pert like about goin' I didn't like to draw back. So 
we settled as how he should come round and see to 
my dressin' on Tuesday afternoon, and then, when the 
time came, Jem should drive me round in the barrer. 

I've told yer how he druv me round in the barrer, 
and about his sayin' " Gee hup, Neddy," and leavin' 
me alone. 

I must say it timied me a little when I found myself 
all by myself, and see a policeman, too, near the railins. 
But I says to myself, a thinkin' of the donkey, " Gee 
hup," I says, and with that I turns the corner, and 
walks up to the door of the house. 

I expected to find a lot o' people waitin' outside, but 
there warn't nary one, and not so much as a song to be 
heard from a winder — so I gives a knock. 

The door was opened like lightnin' by as big and 
fine a feller as ever stepped in shoe. He'd got on a 
snufF-coloured bob-tail coat and weskit, with brass 
buttons and plush breeches, and stockings that looked 
for all the world like silk; so I jest puts down my hand 
to try, and touched his calf, and, by George, I found 
they was — real Chaney silk. 

" You're a going it, you are," says I, pleasant like, 
but he gave me a hawful look ; and then I remembered 
that Brockey had said something about keeping quiet ; 
so I walked past him, and was just goin' into the 
parlour. " Here," he says — " here," a callin' after me, 
" I'll jest take your hat and coat," says he. 

" Right you are," I says, glad to see him come round 
again to his temper. " It's a narsty sort o' night," ses 



A NIGHT IN BEL GRA VE SQ UARE. 5 

I. " How's master ?" wishing to show 'im that I bore 
no malice, and it was all right. But he only stared at 
me more than ever, and at last he said, " What name 
shall I say, sir, if you please ?" 

I was just a goin' to pop out Sprouts ; but I re- 
membered what Brockey had told me. So I says, 
stately like, to show I could be up in the sterrups too, 
" Look in the right-hand pocket of the coat, young 
man, and you'll find it written on a card, and there's 
tuppence in the other pocket," I ses, wishin' to do the 
gentleman, " for a drink o' beer for yourself." 

So he rummages out a card, and he marches straight 
upstairs with it ; not so much as sayin' With your leaf 
or By your leaf. 

At last, when he'd got to the top of the first flight, 
he turns round, and says he to me, rather contemptuous, 
says he, " Come this way if you please." 

u Who taught you manners ?" says I, now fairly 
bilin over, " a walkin up stairs before your betters, 
young man." But I never seed such a spiritless chap ; 
he only give me another look ; so I walked up. 

The place was clean enough ; but there was doosed 
wtle furniture in the hall ; just a hard sort of chair 
litithout a bit of stuffin' on it and a largish mat. The 
stairs was nice, and the carpits soft like to the feet in 
going up. At last we gits to the fust floor, and the 
feller opens a door and sings out the readin' on the 
card, " Horatio Weer de Weer." 

I felt a sort o' chokin' at the throat, and a coldness 
too, more especial as I wore a high starched collar and 
a little tuppenny-' a'penny white rag twisted round my 
neck instead of the old belcher. Howsomever, in I 
goes. 

Well, the room was a big 'un, and looked awful 
uncomfortable ; I never was in such a dreary place in 
all my life. There was a lot of little chairs in it as 
wasn't big enough for anybody o ver seven stone to sit 
down upon ; and they'd taken the bed out of the back 



6 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

room, and made it all into one, with open doors. When 
I got in there was about a dozen or fourteen people a 
sittin' on em, and a sort of cheeky little fellow with 
white hair standin' in the middle of the room. 

' I guessed he was the major, tho' he hadn't so much 
as his eperlettes on, bein' dressed in black and white, 
like me and the rest. 

Anybody with half a eye could ha' seen the major 
didn't know nothin' o' me, though he didn't like to 
show it. So, with a sort o' sidelong glance at his wife, 
which she didn't seem to twig, he makes me a very 
perlite bow. 

Brockey's last words to me was " You've got nothing 
to do but bow," says he, " and you'll pull through all 
right." 

So I gives the major a reg'lar scraper, and then I sits 
down on a sort of sofa bedstead in the middle of the 
room, and I takes a look round. I never see such a 
lot of cures in my life as the rest of the people was. 
There was six or seven females, old and young, and 
ne'er a decent cap amongst the lot. As for dresses I 
can't talk about 'em, for of all the skimped up things 
as ever I see they was the wust ; just for all the world 
like my little gal's frocks when she was turnin' o' nine. 
There was skirt enough in 'em to have made harf-a- 
dozen bodies over and over again. But I suppose 
they'd all bin bought by contract of a slop dressmaker, 
and she'd made some mistake in the cut of the lower 
part and took it out by scampin' the rest. Their poor 
arms, too, was bare and cold, and they'd tried to keep 
their chilly fingers warm by puttin' on their gloves. 

One on 'em, rather a old party, had a eye-glass and 
a hooky nose, and she got a starin' at me with it till I 
felt rather uncomfortable. 

The men was just as bad. They was dressed for all 
the world like a batch of undertakers, and precious 
miserable it was. Tight shining boots with the huppers 
made of hile-cloth, and cut away coats with nothing to 



A NIGHT IN BELGRAVE SQUARE. 7 

keep yer warm round the waist and lines, then the 
hair o' most o' the great gabies was parted down the 
middle, and likewise a eye-glass too. 

The room was furnished hawful shabby ; there was 
ne'er a cupboard in it, and as for chaney ornaments on 
the mantelpiece, not a single one. There was a good 
fire enough blazin' in the grate, but devil a kettle o' 
bilin' water on it for a drop o' grog, and ne'er a dog, or 
cat, or child to be seen in all the blessed place. This don't 
soot my fireplace, ses I to myself, but without speakin'. 

I think they was all as frightened o' one another as 
I was o' them, for they talked so low it was more like 
a buzz, and they hadn't the pluck to laugh out loud, 
but only grinned. As for me, I said nothin', remem- 
berin' what Brockey had told me, till an oldish cove 
come out and posted hisself near me, and begun a talkin' 
about pictures and heart. 

" I seldom touches it," I ses, " except once in a way 
with sage and onions ; and I ain't wery nutty on it 
then." Arter that he walked away. 

I was a gettin' awful hungry. At last a little fat sort 
of a covey throws the door open and looks at the major, 
and he says, " Dinner !" Then the major's old lady 
begun bobbin' about a askin' of everybody to take every- 
body's arm. I was just a goin' to make up to a sweetly 
pretty little thing when the old gal says to me, says 
she, "Will you take Lady Hawkey, Mr. de Weer?" 
says she ; and afore I could say Jack Robinson the old 
party with the hook nose and the eyeglass puts her 
harm in mine, and in this here stoopid fashion we 
galli wanted downstairs. 

Well, at last we got into a big room where I couldn't 
see a blessed thing to eat but flowers and candles, which 
was stuck all over the table, and looked very pretty, 
but wasn't satisfyin'. Some on 'em took their gloves 
orf, fearin' to sile 'em, I suppose, but I made up my 
mind to show 'em as the value of a pair o' kids was 
nothin' to me, so I kept mine on. 



8 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

Presently in walks that imperdent feller, quite demure, 
as took my coat, along with two or three more fellows, 
and he says to me, " What soup 11 you take ?" 

"Pea," ses I, in a low tone. 

" We ain't got it, sir," he says. 

" Then bring me a basin o' mutton broth," ses I, 
quite haughty. 

The old woman with the eye-glass gave me a look 
but said nothin'. Whether he heard me or not I can't 
say ; but, howsumever, he brought me a plate with the 
bottom just kivered by some sort o' brown stuff I never 
see before. I thought I wouldn't make a rumpus, so I 
fell to. But I see him in a corner a whisp'rin' to one 
of his mates and lookin' at me. 

"It's a capital drop o' soup," ses I to the old lady at 
last, not likin to seem glum. 

What she said I don't know, for I was too busy with 
the spoon. When the young feller come round I gives 
him the plate, and ses, " I'll take a drop more." 

Cunnin' like he tries to do me agin. So says he, as 
if he was hard of hearin', " Turbot, sir, or salmon, did 
you say ?" 

Says I, still low, but betwixt my teeth like, says I, 
" Soup, you lubber." I thought it was gettin' high 
time to stop him dictatin' to me in his own master's 
house. 

So he gave a nasty sort of a smile, and brought me 
another spoonful of the brown. 

Well, when I was eatin' of it, the old woman stared 
at me that bold — I never see the like ; and when I 
advised her to take a drop more she moved her chair a 
little from me, and never said a single word. 

After the soup they brought on lots o' things with 
crackjaw names, too long for me to remember. Most 
of the people seemed to know all about 'em. As for 
me, every time the old major offered me anything I 
jest bowed to him, and so got on werry well. But that 
feller behind my chair was spiteful to the last, and 



A NIGHT IN BELGRAVE SQUARE. 9 

seemed to have took a dislike to me the moment I come 
in the place, as had done no harm to 'im. If ever 
I turned my head a moment he whipped away my plate 
like a flash o' lightnin', and there was no such thing as 
gettin' a good taste of anything flesh or fish. I didn't 
get a single drop o' gravy, for he alius managed to take 
it away from me jest as I'd got my knife ready to clear 
it orfF the plate. 

The rest on 'em was the okkurdest creetures at eatin' 
as ever I see, rammin' their phawks into their mouths 
like mad. So I made one more trile to make things 
pleasant with the old lady. " Mind you don't prick 
yourself, Mrs. Hawkey," I says, smilin'. 

" Pray do not distress yourself on my account," says 
she, as pleasant as a vinegar-bottle havin' words with a 
pepper-box. 

I was werry nigh gar spin', for I hadn't had a drop to 
drink, so I ses to the feller in the black coat, " I'm 
thirsty," says I. "What'll you take, sir?" says he. 
" Any think you've got in the house," I says ; and if he 
didn't give me a dose of the sourest muck I ever put to 
my lips, I'm a Dutchman. 

So I made up my mind to punch his head just as I 
was a leavin' of the house. 

Weil, then the old fellow as had spoke to me on the 
fust-floor began a talkin' about " fleebottomy," which I 
suppose is Latten for flower, for it seemed to be all about 
buds and plants, and the old major says, quite fine — 

" That there last lekture o' yourn at the Institushun," 
says he, " was werry instruktiv' and even entertainin\" 

They've got a way o' talkin' that's somehow diffe- 
rent from ourn, but, if you're sharp, you soon ketch 
hold on it. 

" It would ha' bin more so," says the other one, pat 
enuff with his arnser, " if I'd 'ad the advarntij of your 
Injun experience." 

That reg'lar tickled the old major ; he quite seemed 
to warm up like, and begun chattin' away a good un. 



10 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

His talk hadn't much to do with flow'rs as I could see, 
but it was about everythink else, and I suppose it's all 
fleebottomy. It was all about Injer, and punkers, and 
doolies, and helefants, and tigers, and ragers — some 
sort o' wild beast I ain't seen, but I thought I'd show 
him he hadn't got it all his own way. 

" I've been with the tigers myself, major," says I, 
"leastways I've seen 'em in the Sologikal Gardins," 

This was the first thing I'd spoken out loud, and it 
reg'lar turned the larf agin the major. All on 'em 
tittered a bit, except him and his wife, and they looked 
quite wild and savij at one another, as if they was 
arskin' questions. 

" One o' their rows agin, I suppose," says I, and felt 
glad I'd got over my shyness, and come out so well. 

Then in comes all them idle fellers and strips off two 
slips o' cloth like round towels, and kivers the table 
with a lot of wine in decanters and all sorts o' fruit ; as 
for me, I was dyin' for a smoke, but I see ne'er a pipe 
nor a bit o' baccy in the place. 

The old major's wife was more spiteful than I 
thought, for arfter lookin' awful evil at me she gives a 
kind o' glance at the rest on 'em, and blowed if the 
stuck-up creatures, old hook-nose and all, didn't sail 
right out o' the room. All the better, thinks I to my- 
self. Let 'em stay there till I sends for 'em, if our 
company ain't good enufffor 'em, thinks I, they'll come 
back soon enufF after their tantrums. Now I hope we 
shall have a song, I says, and I begun a thinkin' of the 
toasts I should give 'em if they put me in the chair. 

But no — ne'er a hammer, or a chairman, or a song. 
They all talked away like schoolboys over their lessons 
instead — about gettin' into Parliament and huntin' and 
heart and somethin' about last month's review in Edin- 
burgh, that one old fellow said he'd seen that mornin', 
and nobody laughed or seemed to twig the blunder, 
except me ; but I didn't say anythink, for I didn't want 
to make the old boy look like a fool. As for most o' 



A NIGHT IN BEL GRAVE SQUARE. 11 

their talk, it was such a pack o' stuff and nonsense that 
I ain't got the 'art to put it down. 

Once or twice some on 'em had a drop o' wine 
together, and bobbed their heads at one another like 
heathens without so much as sayin' I looks towards yer, 
or Here's luck. 

By-and-by the old feller gits up, tired o' waitin', I 
suppose, so says he, " Let's go and jine the ladies," ses 
he, as if his sperrit was reg'lar broken. I'd harf a mind 
to say — Let 'em wait till they get out o' their tantrums ; 
but I thought o' Brockey, and I didn't. 

If my old lady was to see me give in like this, thinks 
I, I should be a mere plaything in my own place. 

Well, we went upstairs. Some other time I'll tell 
yer about that second part in the drawin'-room, but I 
ain't got the heart to do it now. I sit it out for an 'our 
or two, till I felt as twittery as a kitten, and then I 
come away. 

The barrer was waitin' for me round the corner, 
Jem, and you was there. Never shall I forget the taste 
of that drop o' porter yer brought out of the can, or the 
relish o' that lump o' bread and the onion you give me 
from the pocket of yer coat. For yer own privit year, 
old fellow, I got many things as I can't let out to the 
public ; but this I will say, that unless I'd seed it my- 
self, I couldn't ha' believed as creeturs wi' money in 
their pokkets and eddication could be so miserable. 
They're deservin' of all the pity of them as knows the 
blessin' of a good meal, pleasant conversation, and a 
easy way o' meetin' one's friends, and, tho' p'r'aps I 
may larf at 'em along wi' you, I'd be the fust person to 
put a trifle down for 'em at any public meetin', or get 
up a friendly lead or a sing-song to purvide the poor 
things with a Christian meal o' wittles and make their 
miserable lives more comfortabler and 'appy. 



12 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS 



MR. SPROUTS'S COURTSHIP. 

1" ARST Munday was our weddin' day, and we 'ad 
-*-' what the old majur 'ud kail a s'lect sercle o' 
frends in the hevenin' ; for they may talk as they like 
about pride, but yer can't hob-nob with heveryboddy, 
yer persition won't allow it. I may do bizness with a 
cove as hawks vinkles in a basket ; but what wood all the 
chaps with barrurs say if I arsked them to mete 'im at 
my 'ouse. I may be thrown in contack with a " I am 
starvin'," or any other artis in sersiety ; but how would 
the " Beadle Exterminator to the London Vestreys" like 
to drink out of the same set o' tee-kups with 'im in 
Kollyflour-alley ? As that old gent sez in Parliment, 
" If property 'ave its dooties, it 'ave also its rites." 

Lor' bless us ! as we grows older these universary 
days seems to kum twice a yere, an' all as as bin seems 
to have happened yesterday, and all as is to be looks as 
if it was comin' to-morrer. There don't seem to be no 
good distance o' time either afore yer or be'ind yer. 
Wereas, when you're a cheeild, yer seems as if you 
had lived for ever an' wos goin' to live for evermore. 

Betsi wanted to send out kards, like them pore crit- 
turs in the sk wares ; but, sez I, " let's sho' ourselves 
independunt on em, and do it in our own way.'' So I 
jest sez to wun or too in plane Hinglish, " Vill yer 
shake a teekup at our drum next Munday, old pal ?" 
an' they sez, " Like a journeyman 'after,'' an 1 the thing 
was done. 

We'd a nice party. There vos Mr. Grimes, assistant 
to a dust kontractur- — he ain't wun of them low broots 
as carrys the stuff up the laddur, but wun as shovels it in 
the baskit, an' his vife a distribbiter of dairy produse. 
Then thare vos Ferritt, the dawg fansier, an' his sun as 



MR. SPROUTS >S COURTSHIP. 13 

can rite, an' kill rats agin' time with any dawg in the 
vurld, and Signur Bagshot, as owns a Karryvan of 
Curosetees, likevise his wife, an' the jiant, and the Blud 
Drinker of Peroo, from the sho', as is not at all prowd 
in privit life, an' likes beer. Assin the Dworf, sup- 
posed to be the only sun of the Sultin of Turkey, now 
in Hingland, kum in the herly part o' the hevenin, but, 
as 'e begun a kryin' cause ve adn't got no katsmeat, we 
sent 'im away, and finished up verry kumfurtabl' amongst 
hourselves. 

I shall never forgit our coartin'. Lor' bless me wot a 
gay yung feller I wos wen I fust knoo Betsi. My 'air 
was kurled every blessid mornin' vith bakky pipe, an' I 
thought o' nothin' but fashun and vanitis. I'd four rows 
of hobnales in my best boots, an' wore a wesket every 
blessid day in the week, let alone Sundays. If ever 
there wos a sho' of dawgs my puppis karried orff the 
prize ; an' thay wos puppis! You kood a put 'em in a 
'arf quarten glarse, an' they luv'd me like a farthur. 
If ever there wos a friendly lead, Joe opend with the 
fust song. If there wos a raffle, Joe put his name atop 
of the list, an' 'ad the fust throw. Ven 'e fed his 
rabbits the gals used to look over the railings and visper 
" pretty bunny," meanin' pretty Joe. Wen 'e went out 
burd-ketchin' tha used to bother 'im fur pressints, an' 
made pets o' the burds ; and wen he tuk vun on 'em to 
the play thare wos no stint o' gingur-beer an' mutton- 
pies, for eels 'adn't kum up. But I nevur used to think 
o' marryin' ; an' at larst thay hall got to callin' me 
" Batchilur Jo," for, as the fellur sez in the book, "My 
'art wos adermint agin the distrakshuns o' the fair." 

But it warn't to last for ever ; for wun day I wos 
goin' 'ome promiskus-like, in the evenin' at nite, when I 
kum plump on a Jak-in-the-Grene in a by-street, an' I 
wos standin' as yoo mite be, lookin' at the green workin' 
up and down, more like a barril o' beer fomentin' than 
anythink else, when up cum the Queen of Buty with 
the ladel, an' begun to darnse. 



14 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

Yer mite*'ave knock' d me down vith a sledge 'ammer, 
for of all the luvly things I ever see she wos one. She 
koodn't have weighed less than eleven stun, an' she 'ad 
a arm an' fist as could have flored a coaly, an' was 
kuvvered vith musling and red boots like the beins of 
anuther vurld. The jentle excitement o' the 'op 'ad 
given a glo' of warmth to 'er cheeks and nose, and 
d'rekly I se 'er I felt a sumthing krackin hinside an' I 
knew my 'art vos touched. 

" Give us a copper," sez she. 

" A copper," I sez, " annythink, everythink, here's 
tuppense." 

" Is that all ?" sez she, smilin'. 

" I have no more," sez I ; " stop, does yer mothur 
smoke ?" 

" She do," sez she. 

" Then take my baccy-box," I sez, an' I give her 
half-an-ounce of burd's-eye an' a kullered pipe. 

Thay vent off, an' I followed and see 'er dansin' 
agin an' agin vith the Lord in the cock'd 'at and green 
sash, an' makin' beleev to kiss 'er hand and offer 'er 
luv to 'im till I felt the fires of jellursy cussin' thro' 
my branes, tho' I mite 'ave 'ad the sense to see as it wos 
only a purfeshunal detachment. 

I follered 'er to 'er fathur's door, as was a koke mer- 
chunt ov the name of Chigley. I see 'em put the green to 
bed. I found out 'er name was Betsi. I waived a last adoo 
to 'er as she stood neer the coke skales. I vent 'ome. 

But not to sleep. I fed the rabbits an' the pijjins, 
an' giv the pups a hapurth o' milk and put 'em to bed. 
All nite long I vos tossin' about. I got up an' wacked 
the puppies for a change. I tride to teach my starlin' to 
vissel " Elizurbuth Chigley," but it wos only the nite 
before as I teeched 'im to larn " Ratketcher Joe," out 
o' komplerment to a frend, and 'e mixt the two together, 
an' did nothin' but vissel Ratketchur Chigley till I felt 
as I could ha' pisened 'im. 

It vent on for sum days, an' every 'our I got worse an' 



MR. SPROUTSS COURTSHIP. 15 

worse. I took no pride in dres, the peek of my cap wos 
pretty nigh as often on my forehead as it vos over my 
left ear. I 'ad to take two drinks to finish a pot of 
'evvy, my 'air got out o' kurl, I kouldn't vissel, I 
kouldn't shy a skittel-ball. I 'adn't the strength to skin 
a rabbit, I wos ofF my bakky, I wos late on markit 
days, I spekkilated in koke an' lost, I skwanderd my 
kapital, I 'ated the rat-pit, I didn't 'ave a fite for three 
weeks. The pups groo up without 'avin' thare tales 
kut, the kat fought the chikkings, the rabbits got 'uffy, 
an' one on 'em 'ung hisself through the bars of his 
'utch ; an' in the mist of it all the vite mouse vos kon- 
fined, and the fathur seemed to ask me 'ow 'e wos to 
git sop for 'is childrun. 

This brought me too. " I must do suthin' or die," 
sez I ; " I owe a dooty to this ere famerly o' innersents ;" 
an', as luck would have it, I hit upon a idea. 

There wos a haredressur in the street as had a assistant 
named Alfonser de Makasser, a puffeck swell, as wore 
Wellintun boots, an' could spell " satisfakshun" like a 
dixonery, likewise 'e could rite ornimentle, and did all 
the cards for the vindy, so I vent to him. 

I told 'im wot wos the mattur, an' sez 'e, " You 
have my simperthy," he ses, " I'm in the same tender 
sittyvashun," sez he. " Ow can I help yer ?" 

" Why," I sez, " I wants yer to put down everythink 
I tells yer in ornimental ritin', an' rool the lines. Say 
as I feels my art shrinkin' to nuthin' as if it vos bein' 
biled, an' enny think else yer think of, an' I'll give yer 
thrippence a piece for every idea as yer can rite to her." 

"Rite to who?" sez 'e. " Elizurbuth," sez I. 
"Also the cognomen of my idol," sez 'e, and then 'e 
rit me the follerin' note : — 

iC Beloved yet buteful unknown ! Wen the mornin' brakes 
my awaken'd soul will wing its flite to yer -lattiss and chirrup 
* Git hup!' and at eve we'll sit beneeth the archin' vines, 
and wunder wy yer fathur eats 'is heart in sollitood, and skatturs 
yer buty to the winds. Ah, Elizurbuth, werfore art thou 



16 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

Betsi ? Is this a dagger wich I see before me ? and wot's in 
a name ? — Yourn, as you uses 'im, 

" Josef. 
"N.B. All letters to be prepade." 

" Wot is the price o' that ?" I sez. 

" Eight pense," 'e ses, " leastways if yer have it rit 
like printin. The quotashuns from the poets is tuppense 
a piece, and the ritin tuppense." 

But when I got to the post office I see a compleat 
letter riter for sale for both sexes, with forms of address 
for members o' Parliment, marchints, ambassadurs, and 
lawyers, an a reddy rekner, on the prinseeples of sound 
merrality, and I bot it. 

The very next day I gits a letter from 'er as fine as 
if it 'ad been copied out of a letter riter, only I knew 
as no one else but me wos up to sich a dodge. This 
vos it : — 

" Letter 23. — To a lover on rejectin' 'is soot. 
"Deer Cur, if in the freedom o' konversashun enjined by 
the konvenshunalities o' sosiete I ? ave led yer to believ as the 
detachmint you express is resiprokled, I ask yer pardun, for 
candy compels me to acknoledge that the utmost solicitations 
of ingenooity will avail you nought as my art is anuther's, an' 
my Fathur, who is a retired merchint of wealthy habbits (here 
put okkipation of Father, if any), could ill sustain the bereeve- 
ment of wun he 'as trained vith peculiar care. Madenly modisty 
prevents me from addin' more. — I am, Cur, with full 'steem, 
yours, " Elizurbeth Chigley." 

D'rekly I got this I sent the follerin', wich I red out 
o' the buk, an' improved with bits o' my own. 

" From a modist but unfort'nate young gentleman. 
" Deer Elizurbeth, My Art is a wolkaner, My feelins is 
wirlpools, My dawg is dead, Woises seems to wisper 6 Chigley' 
in the silent nite, Yer silf-like form flotes before me in vishuns 
like a thing of hair, and I have no peas in my bed. — Yer 
obedyunt servint, 

" Josef Sprouts." 



MR. SPROUTS'S COURTSHIP. 17 

The next vun was from her as rollers: — 

"Letter 25. — To the same on the same from the same. 

"Cur, — Forgit yer unhappy passion. Try to soothe yer 
disturbances by furrin travil, and in the eternil buty of the 
city of the Caesars obliviate my transyent charms. For u a 
horrible path is hopen. To deny that I am hindifferent to 
yure menny excellent quality's of ? ed and 'art would be mere 
affection. I 'ave watched yure career, and shall continny to 
do so wen the rewords of a lofty ambition shall be yourn. 

" (Here sine name). 

" Elizurbeth Chigley. 

* Address Coke-shed, Ash-lane, Spitalfields." 

I see this sort o' game vos no go, and I mite ha' 
gone on like this for hever. Besides, I vos tired o' 
starvin' myself, so I begun a noo move in the follerin' 
tarms : — 

" Miss, — This is to give notis that I vill neither eat or 
drink anythink till yer've promised to be mian. Therefor, 
if yer holds hout hobstinit, you'll 'ave to appere on the hink- 
west, and likewise be awaked at nite by the ghost of yer 
humbel servunt, 

" Josef Sprouts." 

D'rekly I'd posted that I went an' lade in, about a 
pound o' stake an' some hevvy and felt konsiderably 
refresh' d. In four days' time I went to her fathur's 
orfis to make a larst appeal, and found her weighin' 
out a sak o' coke. 

D'rekly I see 'er I pulls a horful long fase as if I vos 
gnawed to piecis, an' I sez sollumly — 

" Is your name Chigley ?" sez I. 

" Rayther," sez she. 

" An' mian," sez I, " is Sprouts. Do yer still luv 
my 'ated rifle ?" 

" Yes," she says, " I vusshups 'im." 

" Wot's 'is fitin' weight ?" I sez. 

c 



18 MR. SPROUTS EIS OPINIONS. 

" He's a purfesshunel person; — a haredressur," sez 
she. 

" Is thare no 'ope ?" sez I. 

" How much do yer git a weke ?" sez she. 

u Five-an'-twenty shillins in the season," sez I. 

"No hope wotever," sez she. 

" Thank you kindly, Miss Chigley," I sez. " I will 
not keep you any longur. I am goin' to 'op the twig. 
I am slowly w r astin' away with 'unger. I weigh'd twelve 
stun three days ago ; I now ways four. Good-bi, and 
exsept the blessin' of a 'ungry 'art." 

I had 'ardly got a dozzen steps away wen she kum 
runnin' arfter me, and throo 'erself on my veskit, and 
sez she, " Josef, beluvid Josef, if you luv me better 
than vittles, yer 'art indede is troo. I was only tryin' 
yer. I am yoorn, thian for ever, come hin, an' pour 
out the story o' yer love, an' have some herrin'." 

" Will yer be a mother to my puppeys ?" I sez. 

" I vill, I vill," sez she, an then our noses met, an' 
then our lips, an' it vos settled. 

" May I wait upon yer father ?" sez I. 

" He's hout coal-vippin'," sez she, but in the evenin' 
I giv 'im a quarten o' rum an' got his consent. 

We wos tide up that very day three weeks. The cole- 
vipper spared no expens in fittin' out 'is child. The 
trooso was dun hup in a sak in the washhouse, an' 
there vos everythink the hye could desire. Three yards 
of ile-kloth for tabel-kivers, an' three pares o' noo 
stockkins, an' three darned, a shawl, a female pare o' 
bluchers for market-days, two nitekaps and a sta'-bone, 
a kuart pot with a false bottom for bizness, and a full- 
sized one for pleshur, an' too pare of yaller boots, and 
Bonnycastle's Algebry for readin' on wet days. 

D'rekly we got bak from church I rushed horff madly 
up vun street an' down anuther in the 'appyniss of my 
'art. I felt abuv everythink. I floted along like a 
bladder. I felt a longin' to do sumthin unnatural, 
unkommon, danjerus, so I went to wash myself and to 



MR. SPltOUT&S COURTSHIP. 19 

be shaved. Alfonser De Makassur wos reedin' Lord 
Bakun's " Don Jooin" wen I rushed in. 

"Hooray! hooray!" I sez, "I've wun 'er, she is 
mian, she is mian." 

" Moderit yer transports," sez 'e, " who's yourn ?" 

" Betsi," I sez, " Betsi." 

" Wot Betsy ?" sez 'e. 

" Betsy Chigley," I sez, " the coal-vipper's child." 

" It's false," 'e skremed, " thou wiper, thou sarpint. 
She is not thian. I 'ave 'ad vowels of luv from 'er 
own raven lips. I 'ave given 'er two pots o' permatum 
and a pair of sizzers. She is mian by hevery humeing 
tie. 

It wos too troo. My Betsi wos 'is Betsi, and 'is'n as 
wos wos mian as is. 

'E sharpened a razur with emfersis, wile a dark frown 
lit hup 'is butiful 'ead of 'air. 

" Did you say you wonted shavin' ?" 'e sed, tryin' to 
look karm, with a terribl' roll of 'is rite hyeball. 

" No," I sed ; " forgiv' me, it wos a parsin' weekniss. 
I am better now, I wish to be just," I sez ; " I think 
I owes yer eight pense ; aksept a shilling, an' wen yer 
look at the od fourpense, think sumtimes of Josef 
Sprouts. Farewel." 

" I will not touch yer filthy gold," he sed, puttin' it 
hin 'is veskit pokkit, " I will chace thee till deth." 

I flew to 'er fathur's manshun, and he pursood, 
Neddi's granfather wos harnissed to a noo barrer at the 
dore, vaitin' to take hus to Witechapil, were we wos to 
spend the 'unnymoon. 

Betsi 'ad fin'shed kleenin' 'erselr, an' all vos reddy 
wen we got there. 

" Unmanly woman!" skremed De Makassur, "wot is 
the kause of this rejekshun ?" 

" You wos too reg'lar at meels," sed Betsi. 

" Listen," 'e sez, " I 'ad tak'n a superior shavin' shop, 
and I shall 'ave to forfit the depozzit. May the cuss of 
a blighted bein', a 'airdressur's kuss, fall upon yer 'ed, 



20 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

and make yer bawld before yer time. Ma' the orty 
tyrant as 'ave stolin yer, whip yer with unkindness worse 
than yer fathur whips his coals. May yer 'ave no 
children, 'an ven they're vaksinated ma' it nevvur take. 
Ma' yer 'ave no joy in wakin', and may yer dreems always 
be harnted by the memmury of Makassur's cuss." 

Arter that the trooso vos put in the barrer, the naburs 
cheered, the cole-wippur giv' us 'is blessin', an' we druv 
off. 



A SATURDAY CONCERT. 

TT7E finished pretty early one Saturday mornin', and 
^ hadn't done bad neither. We was clean sold out 
o' Brussels sprouts and collyflowers, and there warn't 
above half-a-dozen pound o' pertaters and salary left : 
so ses I to the old woman, when we got home — " I 
feels a little bit larkish, and I'm harf a mind to take yer 
out somewheres for the rest o' the day." 

" What's the use," she ses, " yer can t get no pleasure 
nowhere, at this time ; them villins at the public don't 
begin drawin' the cream gin till seven o'clock, and that 
stufF they sells in the day time han't got a bit o' taste." 

"Well," I ses, "in course we shall finish up there; 
but there's sure to be summat up somewheres now. I 
wish the music-halls was open in the day time." 

" So they are," she ses, " at the Christial Pallis. I've 
heard say there's a consort there every Saturday ; and 
that means a music-hall, yer know." 

" Brayvo !" I chirrups, "put yer rags on then, and 
we'll be off." 

" Yes, but," ses she, " how are we to get there ?" 

" Why, drive down in the barrer, in course," I ses. 
"Neddy's as fresh as a kitten, and I'll clean up the 
harness a bit, and we can stow the vegetables under 
the bed." 



A SATURDAY CONCERT. 21 

So in about 'arf a nour we was ready. The old gal 
had on a blue moiry anteek, yaller boots, and a slap-up 
green an' re,d shawl she bot last week of a smuggler as 
hadn't paid dooty. As for me, I chucks on my new 
velveteen startler and kickseys, white stockins, and a 
hairy cap, and them high-lows as I had made last summer 
to go and see the fite, with Muggy Donovin's colours 
for a fogle round my neck. 

" Joe," ses the old lady, quite soft like, as she used 
afore we was married, " Joe, yer looks meltin'." 

So we druv off. I couldn't help feelin' a little proud 
when the boys come hoorayin' behind the cart ; but we 
was rather in a hurry, so I gives Neddy a touch o' the 
switcher, and we bowled down there in no time. 

"We're a little late," I ses, as we rolled up under 
the portico ; " howsumever we shan't have so much 
to pay." 

When we got out there was two policemen a larfin' 
like mad, tellin' one another funny stories, I suppose, 
thinks I. So I hands the old woman out like a lord, 
and promised a boy a trifle to mind the donkey. My 
eyes ! didn't the money-takers stare when we got in, 
as if they'd never seen nobody dress'd in their lives 
afore. So I marches up to one on 'em, a likely lookin' 
young feller, and puts a shillin' on the counter. 

" Arf price for two," ses I. 

So he busts out in a titter, and ses, sniggerin' like, 
" It's five shillin's to pay, sir." 

" Why, yer shabby cannibul," ses I (I see that word 
once in print), " a tryin' your games on because yer see 
a person dressed respectable." 

" It's a regular hinquisition," ses the old gal, as fine 
as any lady. 

That sort of quiet mild way, quite like the gentle- 
folks, brought 'im down in a moment. So he shows 
us a hadvertisement in the paper with the price marked ; 
and, as I was bound not to spile the treat for a haporth 
o' tar, I puts down the money and we went in. 



22 MR. SPROUTS BIS OPINIONS. 

I felt rather dry, for we'd only had time to stop at 
three places ; so I goes up to a big counter where some 
ladies was eatin' penny ices, and calls for two six- 
pennorths o' rum 'ot. 

" We don't sell it," ses a perky sort o' Miss Nancy, in 
a black gownd ; " but you can either have corfee or tee." 

" Corfee yer gran'mother," my old lady ses, firm' up, 
and we marched into the consort-room. Well, the 
place was full, reg'lar bilin' over with people, clean 
enough and quiet ; but, tho' I say it, there warn't a 
blessed female as could 'old a candle to Betsy in the way 
of dress ; and as for the men, but there ! I'm alius a 
talkin' about myself. I ses nothin'. But they pushed 
one another, and stared, and made way for us as if we'd 
bin the fust in the land. 

"'Old yer gownd up, and let 'em see your boots," I 
ses, as we went up into the gallery, for I felt more 
comfortabler there. 

My eye ! how they stared at us, till I felt as proud as 
a little dog with too tails. I had a progrim, and sat 
readin' of it, like the gentry at the theatre afore the 
play begins. 

At last in comes a young feller and makes a bow, and 
sits down with his back to the company, and waves a 
fiddle-stick, and all the fellers begins to play. 

It was a hoverture. I've yeard 'em before, and I 
wouldn't give my name for a dozen on 'em. It's more 
like as if they was a learnin' to play than anythink else, 
or as if they was havin' a lark with the gaffer. Every 
feller blows away jest as he likes and leaves off when 
he likes, and when the young feller pints at one with 
his stick, as much as to say, " Wire in," another cove 
in the corner tootles a bit on the flute, and hides hisself 
the moment the gaffer looks round. It was the hover- 
ture to the bronze horse, but I like 'im better in wax- 
work at Madam Toosord's. 

By-and-by they finished, tearin' away at it as if they 
was all mad. 



A SATURDAY CONCERT. 23 

"Now you'll see a reg'lar lark," ses I to the old 
woman, readin' from the bill, " a reg'lar screamer — 
Mozart's ' Diversion with a flat' on the pianer. 

" Oh," I ses, " it's fine. I see it once at a music-hall, 
leastways I s'pose it's the same. A cove comes in and 
tries to play the pianer, he's the flat, and another cove, 
hidin' round the corner, keeps bobbin' up and ticklin' 
'im with a pitchfork — that's Mozart." 

Well, in come a meek-lookin' young feller, with long 
'air and spectacles combed back, and he sit down jest as 
natural as if he didn't know anythink about Mozart, 
and rattled away a good 'un. 

" Where's Moses ?" ses the hold lady. 

Where was Moses, indeed — cleaning the pitchfork, 
I s'pose. He never showed hup at all ; and the thing's 
nothink if it's on'y harf done. I couldn't help thinkin' 
he was a playin' with us insted o' the flat, and I felt 
regler wild when the feller finished and they clapped 
their hands. 

" Give us a bit o' cold meat out o' the baskit," I ses ; 
" I can't stand this here." 

The next thing was a funeral march. 

"That'll be a hit at the hundertakers," I ses. 

"Time enufFtoo," ses Betsy, "with corfins at such a 
price and symetries such a way off. It's a reg'lar march 
and no mistake. I hope they'll bring it in about the 
berial societies. There han't a bit o' comfort in goin' 
to a funeral now." 

But all the hidjuts did was to blow away for 'arf a 
nour like dyin' ducks, as if they was goin' to be buried 
theirselves. 

" Well, this is a five bobs' worth," ses I to an old 
Grampus as sat next to me, who looked as if he was 
dreamin'. 

" Magnificent !" ses he, without turnin' round — pore 
old stoopid. 

" I wish there was a bit o' horse ridin'," ses my wife ; 
" I'm sick o' this." 



24 MR. SPROUTS E1S OPINIONS. 

And blessed if I didn't see Batti, Batti, printed on 
the bill as large as life. 

Well, blowed if that didn't clean freshen me up. It 
brought back old times, in a manner o' speakin', when 
we was a courtin', and used to go and have a tanner's 
worth at Ashley's, and finish up with a nice relish o' 
heel pies for supper and harmond wilks ; and I longed 
to see them noisy fellers clear off and the sordust put 
down. 

I felt that uppish like when they blowed theirselves 
out o' wind that I puts my two fingers in my mouth and 
gives a regular wistle, as they do at the play. 

By gum, if that wistle didn't wake 'em all up like a 
flash o' lightnin', every mother's son on 'em in the pit 
looked up as if the house was a fire. I never had so 
much notis taken of me in my life. 

" Give 'em another, Joe," ses the old woman, quite 
proud on me. 

I was jest goin' to do it when a bobby taps me on the 
shoulder, and ses he — 

"That sort o' thing won't go down here, my fine 
feller," ses he. 

" Show 'em you're got a sperrit, Joe," ses Betsy. 

" What sort o' thing ?" ses I ; " what d'ye mean ?" 

" Mean," he ses, " wy, that wistlin'." 

" Get out," I tells 'im, " I'll report yer if yer milests 
me, or, I'll tell yer what, I'll fite yer any Sunday 
mornin' yer like when you're out o' uniform in Copen- 
hagen-fields." 

" Don't do it agin," he sez, movin' ofT, ashamed like, 
for there were lots o' people grinnin' at 'im in the pit. 

And what d'ye think Batti was arter all ? Jest 
nothin'. A delikit sort o' creetur come on, and went 
thro' some sort o' nonsense. " One o' the children 
doin' summat for the benefit o' the old man, I s'pose," 
sez I. So none on us didn't hiss, as it was a case of 
hafiiction, but I could see as every one would ha' liked 
the horse-ridin' better. 



A SATURDAY CONCERT. 25 

When that young woman had done, up steps a 
sheepish-looking feller, and begun singin' a sentimental 
song. He seemed to be somebody, for when he come 
on, the place was that quiet you could hear a fly sneeze, 
but the poor thing didn't seem to have no sort o' sperrit 
for sentimental singin', for he began that low and quiet 
you could hardly hear a word he said. 

" Speak hup, "ses I, leanin' over the gallery, " fling it 
out. 

Blessed if everythink I ses in company don't go 
down amazin' well ! They all stared at me 'arder 
than ever ; and it did the feller good, too, for arter he'd 
kep it up another line or two, to show that he warn't 
afraid, he rattled it out a good 'un. 

" Call that singin' ?" I ses to the old gent next me. 
" Yer don't appear to 'ave heerd Signor Whatkini sing 
the ' Death o' Nelson' at the sign o' the Leg o' Mutton 
an' Trimmins, in the Dials," I ses. 

" No," ses the crabby old warmint, " but I certingly 
think you might confine your patronage to places where 
you are better pleased." 

"Who cares for what you think, old Hemperor o' 
Rooshia ?" ses Betsy. " Joe, let's go." 

" Go," I ses, " let's hear the comic song fust, there's 
a chorus to it as I've joined in dozens of times." 

" What is it ?" she says. 

" Why," says I, '" « Baccy O,' to be sure. < II Bacio' 
they calls it here, but it ain't spelt right ; it's that song 
about the pleasures o' smokin' as we heerd last week." 

" Why, they ain't got hold o' the right toon," I ses, 
when they begun, " and it's all about the French baccy, 
I think, and that aint much account." 

" Nothin's much account," ses Betsy, quite out o' 
temper, " nothin's much account ; let's be off." 

"Won't yer stop to 'ear the last thing?" I ses — 
" Beetovin's sonnet on a flat' with a 'op after it. P'raps 
that'll be a leetle to larf at." 

" No, drat the flats," ses she, " and Beetovin too. I 



26 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

think they're all flats together, I daresay he'll be just 
as big a noodle as Moses. As for the 'ops," ses she, 
larfin', " let's op off." So out we went all thro' that 
long Christial Pallis ; the noodles stared at us reg'lar 
foolish. At last we gits to the door, and finds the 
donkey — a good bit 'appier than us, for he'd 'ad his 
dinner, and nobody had been playing no larks with 'im. 
As soon as we got up to town we finished hup at the 
Leg o' Mutton and Trimmins, and heered Whatkini and 
loads o' talent for 3d., and we made up our minds not 
to be trapped into five shillin' consorts full of furriners 
no more. 



A NIGHT IN PARLIAMENT. 

*npHERE'S a nice civel fellow as lives in our house, 
•*■ a perliceman he is, as knows amost everythink 
about lor and sich like, for tho' he's young he's 'ad a 
matter o ; three people transported for life ; and he's got 
a job on now as '11 p'raps come to a hangin' if it turns 
out well, and that '11 make his fortin. But he's no ways 
proud, and he talks to me sometimes when he's off 
dooty, jest as if he was nobody and I kep a shop. 

So, the other day, when he cum to pay his rent, we 
fell a talkin' about this thing an' that, an' I ses to 'im, 
" 'Ow many cases 'ave yer 'ad on this week, Mr. 
Battun ?" ses I. 

" Ne'er a one," he ses, " and I ain't likely to 'ave 
neither, seein' as I'm on dooty at the House all the week." 

'• Ah," ses Betsy, " I s'pose them pore kreeturs is too 
hungry to kick up a row. 'Ave yer ever tasted the 
gruel they gives 'em there ? I've heerd say it's no better 
than the stuff the billstickers carries about with 'em in 
the tin cans." 

" O," ses he, smilin' right out loud, " I don't mean 
the wurkus, I means the House o' Parliment at Wes- 



A NIGHT IN PARLIAMENT. 27 

minster were they makes the lors — the Senit, as some 
call it." 

" Of course yer do," ses I, snappin' 'im hup, for I 
felt rather ashamed of the old lady goin' on like that 
before a perliceman. " 'Ow are they all down that 
way r 

" Fust rate," he ses. 

" Lor," I ses, " I've never bin there ; but I've seed 
'em at the theater lots o' times, them senitors, and rare 
cures they looks with their black bed gownds and 
extinguisher caps, all sittin' round the red board with 
masks on, as brings the cove in to be killed and his 
corfin with 'im, as has forgot the password." 

" Stuff," he ses, " that's what they do in the furrin 
Parliments. Ourn ain't dressed much different to you 
or me ; an' a preshus lot o' rum 'uns some on 'em look, 
with their bloo coats and brass buttons, like old livery- 
stable keepers. As for tiles, I ain't seen one among 'em 
that's a match on your billycock or my 'elmet for 
kumfurt; and for passwords they ain't got none at all — 
any feller might git in." 

I dunno 'ow it is, but I think that blessed dinner in 
Belgrave-square has spiled me. Every time I 'ears any 
thing o' this sort I'm all agog to see it, and what the 
peeler 'ad sed made me feel as quirky for to get into 
Parliment as a donkey for beans. But I didn't say a 
word to nobody ; and, when he was gone, I pretendid I 
was off my beer and queerish, and went to bed. 

Well, erly the next mornin', and quite unbeknown 
to the old lady, as was gone out, I shies myself into a 
soot o' togs as one of the lodgers left behind 'im for 
rent, and, slopin' out ov our house the back way, I 
jumps into a Hansum, and ses to the cabby, " West- 
minster Pallis," as loud as you please. 

When we got to Cherring Cross I began to feel 
reg'lar tickled. You'd 'a thought all the world 'ad 
turned out to see me. All the 'ouses was piled up with 
people like baskits o' haddicks at Billin'sgate, and yer 



28 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

couldn't see the lions at Nelson's statty for the boys as 
kivered 'em. The winder was full o' beautiful lookin' 
ladies an' hold gentlemen at eighteenpence a 'ead, and 
the perlicemen was knockin' the little boys and pore 
people about as pleasant as at a Lord Mare's show. 

" Where are yer off too ?" says a bluebottle on 
'orseback, stoppin' the cab with a country aksent. 

" To the House," I ses, " to be sure, yer guffin. 
Where else d'yer think ? I'm the member for Seven 
Diles." 

"Oh! I beg yer 'umble pardon, sir," says he: 
" parse on." When we got a bit further on the boys 
begun a hoorayin' at me in the cab, and as I've heerd it's 
the rite thing to keep bowin' and scrapin', I ducks to 
'em once or twice, an' they kep' it hup wuss than ever, 
till the people at the bridge begun to think somebody 
was a comin', and the bobbies galloped about furus till 
I cum up, and then they looked rather huffy and went 
off. 

Well, we riggled along as jolly as a wurm in a pea- 
shell till we cum to the turnin' into Pallis-yard, and, 
jest as I was thinkin' 'ow nobby I'd got over it, I see a 
site as give me quite a turn. 

It was Betsy 'avin a bit of a fite jest for fun like with 
a coaly' s wife. They was both at it like tinkers for deer 
life. The old lady was over wated, and she'd lost her 
bonnet and a little bit of her 'air, but the coaly's vife 
was reg'lar shook to bits. 

"Drive farst, cabby," ses I. But afore I could get 
by the old lady twigs me. 

"What Joe," she ses, "bless me, if it ain't 'im! 
Why, mercy on us, Joe, won't yer cum and 'elp yer 
lauful wife as them villins is a limbin' of ?" 

I know'd she warn't in no danger, so I vips up the 
oss with my umbreller, and turns the corner in a 
moment, jest as I heerd the policeman a warnin' 'er 
about interferin' with members. 

The gentry a' got a slap dash sort o' way o' doin' 



A NIGHT IN PARLIAMENT. 29 

things as if they thought nobody else was nobody. So, 
w'en I gits out o' the kab, I puts that on too, and gives 
the kabby 'arf-a-krown jest as if I didn't no the diffe- 
rence between that and a shilling ; and follerin' a old 
covey I marches clean through into the 'ouse. 

Now, thinks I, my fakement is to do heverythink 
like this old feller, for he seems hup to it hall. So, 
w'en we got in, he pulls off a werry dickey sort o' tile 
and clambers up some benches to the left of a chap in 
a vig like a cat on 'ot bricks ; and I lugs off my tile 
and follers 'im quite close, and bumps down jest at his 
side. 

" Let's go on the other side, mate," ses I, " this don't 
soot my fireplace. What with the draft from that there 
door and one thing and another, we seems as if we 
was sittin' hout in the kold." 

With that, he moves 'is 'ed round slow in his stock, 
and takes in all my pints from top to toe. Then he 
settles 'is hold chump round agin in 'is belcher, but ses 
nothin'. 

That's their way o' talkin' ; they manij most altogether 
by sines. So I settles my 'ed down in my belcher, and 
looks at my toes, jest as he was doin'. 

A fat-lookin' old boy, like a farmer, was sittin' on 
the hother side o' me, with his face shinin' as hif he'd 
jest washed it with yaller sope, and he begun torkin'. 

" I'm hextreem dubeus," ses he, " about the korse I 
shall take in regard to reform, for I dreads that a 
lowerin' of the (somethin' or other) will 'ave the heffect 
of kiverin' them there benches opperzite with men as 
represents the lower horders, not only in centiments, 
but in languidge, and that all the eddication as well as 
property '11 be on this side o' the 'ouse." 

Every blessed word o' this was Greek to me, so I 
jest turns round in my collar and hies 'im down as 
cheeky as the fust one did me, and that settled 'im for 
a bit. 

" I fancy," ses he arfter a bit, " they'll 'ave konsider- 



30 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

able trubble with the budgit this yeer. The waist o' 
some o' the public departments is hawful. I intend to 
call attention to it." 

I tumbled this time to what he meant. " Rite you 
are, sir," ses I, " and wile you're at it, give 'em a histe 
about kiverin' the top o' that klok with gold leaf; 
there's bin stuff enuff waisted there to git arf the 
blankits in London out o' pawn." 

"O," ses he, rather touchy, "they ain't risponsible 
for that." 

" Ain't they ?" ses I, " I back that chap in the vig 
knows somethin' about it. Yer might 'ave a reg'lar 
chaff with 'im about kiverin' hisself hup in hall that 
wool, for there's vaste agin'." 

He was kviet agin for a minnit or too, and then he 
ses to me, quite mild like, ses he, " 'Ave you taken the 
oath ?" 

" Not a single one," I ses, " since I set foot in the 
place. I never do except I'm reg'lar got out." 

Jest as we got to that in comes a very respectable- 
lookin' chap with a black stick in 'is 'and, and he calls 
out somethin' in a loud voice to the chap in the vig, and 
then we all gets up in a krowd, and walks after 'im 
thro' the door. 

" Where are we ofF to now ?" ses I to the fat gent. 

" To the bar of the other 'ouse," ses he. 

" Not a bit too soon either," ses I, " I'm reg'lar dry, 
and I dessay a drop o' sumthin' short wouldn't do you 
no harm." 

With that he gives a sort o' 'arf groan, and sed 
sumthin' about demokrisy and ruin o' the konstitoo- 
shun. 

" O, nonsense," I ses, heartenin' 'im hup, " I've 
known it cure the toothake, and I'll bak that gives a 
feller more twitches than ever demokrisy will or any 
other complaint. Come on." 

At last we got to the other 'ouse. I've seen a good 
many pretty places in my time, but I never see the 



A NIGHT IN PARLIAMENT. * 31 

match o' that site. Talk of transfurmashun scenes, 
talk of hany think, it was nothink to it. The place 
was one mass o' carvins o' lions, and unikorns, and 
gold hembroiders, and Turkey carpits, and pictures, and 
Russia leather, and beautiful ladies, dressed better than 
fairies, black velvets, and furs, and blue, and purple, 
and yaller, and dusted all over with dimonds. An' all 
the beadles was there in there red clokes, and the judge 
as gave Bill Simmuns a twelvemonth for stealin' rabbit 
skins. 

But rite in front of us was the grandest site of all. 
Her most gracious Majesty sittin' on a throne made out 
of solid gold, her crown all ablaze with jewels, and the 
Prince o' Wales was on her rite hand, and the Princesses 
on her left. 

I'm a hindependent sort o' chap and I don't care a bit 
for most people ; but when I see the Queen I felt 
narvous-like, I must say ; and I jest ses to myself, quiet 
like, God save the Queen, and then I stood stock 
still. 

Then up stood a great sort o' party and said the 
Queen had commarnded 'im to read her speech in her 
own words, and he began one o' the nicest things as 
ever I heerd, bringin' in everythink, all about Americky 
and the kattle pleg, and Noo Zeland, and Horstrier, 
and Africky, and Spain, and Japan, till I felt what a 
mighty powerful kountry ourn must be to ha' wopped 
all them, and I says to myself Rule Britannier three 
times three. 

When we got back agin, who should I see but a deaf 
feller as I met at the major's that nite in Belgrave- 
square. He stared with his hise wide open at seein 
me, and we shook 'ands. 

" Are yer in hopposition, Mr. De Weer ?" ses he. 

" Not I," I ses, " I aint in oppersition to nobody. I 
think hall passed off very 'appy an' comfortabl', con- 
sidering. I 'ad a bit of a scuffle with a feller as trod on 
my toe, but nothin' to speke of," 



32 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" Wat's yer hopinion o' the state o' the kotton this 
yere ?" ses he. 

" Rubbish," I ses, " yer kant git a button to 'old on, 
and them 'apenny reels is pretty nigh all wood." We 
'ad a bit of a walk houtside, though I don't believe he 
heerd harf o' what I said when I spoke to 'im. At larst 
we kum in agin together, and sit down pretty nigh in 
the same place. 

Then hup jumps one arter another, and rattles away 
with notices o' what they was going to do, tryin' to 
frighten the chap in the vig, I fancy, but he took it all 
as quiet as a lam', and seemed to be o' my way o' 
thinkin', that they'd better do it insted o' makin' sich an 
everlastin' tork about the thing. Then they begins 
torkin' about the speech, and one on 'em hopposite got 
hup and begun praisin' it sky eye, and makin' hout as 
tho' he'd heerd a good many, but ne'er a one as he 
took sich a vilent fansy to as this heer. 

And another one, dressed like a sojer, follered exackly 
in 'is wake, and sed pretty near the same things all 
over agin, makin' out as he was thorough nutty on it, 
too. 

But blessed if most o' the fellers on our side didn't 
look as plesunt as table-beer in a thunder-storm, and 
many on 'em as 'ad pretendid to be wery quiet and 
grateful-like when they was in the other room before 
the Queen was turncoats now, and begun peggin' away 
at the speech a good 'un. Not a single thing was rite 
for 'em, but they seemed to be riled about the kattle 
pleg wust of all. 

" Wot's your opinyun o' the speech ?" says the deaf 
chap to me. 

" I think it remarkable well put together," ses I, 
" and I don't see the good o' all this bother about it, for 
it's werry likely in print by now, and karn't be haltered." 
But, bless yer, he never heerd me, he was too busy 
bobbin' hup an' down and lookin' at the man in the vig 
as if he was askin' leaf to speak. 



A NIGHT IN PARLIAMENT. 33 

"One 'ud think you was settin' on a pen, hold 
kovey," ses I. 

"Of korse," he ses, passionate, "one wood ha' 
thought they'd ha set up pens an' purvided more katle 
hinspectors at the public expense," he ses. " But, wot 
'ave they dun ? jest nothink at all. I've privitly tried 
many things myself," he says, " and I dessay you ave, 
an' I should be glad to 'eer with wot suksess." " Well," 
I ses, " I've washed a beest I ad all hover with baccy 
water, and, beyond the smellin' a little an' itchin' a bit, 
he's jest as good hevery way as hever he was, or as yoo 
might be now." I didn't tell 'im it vos Neddy the 
moke. 

Presently, up he jumps, an' lets fly at them hopposite 
right an' left. " Wot 'ave the Government bin doin' ?" 
ses he ; " why, goin' to sleep. Why wasn't the kows 
as felt quarmish-like made to sleep in seperit beds by 
theirselves, and wot must ha' bin the feelins o' the bulls, 
or the ownurs (I forgit wich) wen they see risin' young 
families o' karves droppin' off by the dozen like a 
charity school with the meesles ? Wot," ses he, " 'as 
been the hadvice tendered by Government in this grate 
emergency ? 'Ave they lade the propper remedies 
before the kountry, much less hinforced there adopshun? 
Owners o' stok," savs he, " ha' bin obligated to dewise 
remedies for theirselves. A 'onorable feller on my 
rite," ses he (meanin' me), " a large owner, I beleev, o' 
werry valuable stok, 'as jest hinformed me that he tride 
a very simple remmedy, tabakky water, and with this 
spared the life o' one o' his most valuable beests. Wos 
that plan rekummended in the Goverment progrim ? 
No. Wot mite 'a bin the konsequence to that 'onorable 
feller (meanin' me agin) if he'd wated till the Goverment 
took akshun in the matter ?" (and a lot more on it). 

Then they all let one another 'ave it ding dong — 
'ammer an' tongs, o' both sides — till I felt clean tired 
out o' listenin' to their squabblin', and puts my 'at on 
to walk hout. I see some on 'em larfin', but I didn't 



34 MR SPROUTS HIS OIIMOJSS. 

think it was at me, till a sort o' Jak in orfis taps me on 
the sholeder, and, ses he, " 'Ave the goodness to remove 
yer 'at." 

"Wot for?" ses I ; "them other chaps as got on 
theirn. I s'pose you wants sixpense for yerself," I 
ses, " but I can tell yer that ain't the way to get it out 
o' me ;" and, with that, I tooled out o' the crib in a 
huff. " Well," ses I to myself, " Fm glad I see it all, 
but it's a long time afore yer ketches me yereabouts agin. 
There's a debatin' club a Toosdays at our public as ud 
wop yer all 'oiler for gab, and it haint sich dry work 
either, for them as don't like the talkin' listen to a 
song, and the waiter kums in for horders arfter every 
speech." 

I jest got back in time to bail Betsy out for assaultin' 
the coaly's wife. She's a rare un for enjoyin' of herself 
at holiday times, and wen I thort 'ow miserable Fd 
spent the day, I wished Fd bin with her too. 



ON THE BEAUTIFUL. 

"pVERY spring time I 'as things done up a bit for 
the summer, when the racis and sich like kums 
off, and we goes out to enjoy ourselves ; and this yeer, 
as things looks so uncommon plesunt, I begins rayther 
erlier. I 'ad the best barrer painted up, a butiful ski 
bloo for the body, and all the spokes o' the weels yaller 
and red by turns, so as yer don't fancy when yure 
sittin' in it as if yer was goin' to be beried like them 
miserable black brooms as the gentlefokes is shut up in. 
Besides this, I bort too butiful rosets to deklarate the 
donkey's hed with, wich he looked quite fine to be'old, 
and I 'ad him clipped an' sinjed. 

So, as we was a sittin' together the other evenin', I 
looks up to the old lady, and I ses, ses I, " the wehicle 



ON TEE BEAUTIFUL. 35 

an 5 the kwadrooped looks uncommon pretty, Betsy, and 
if yer like, I don't say as I wont drive yer down to 
'Ampton Kort to-morrer." 

It han't orten as she don't arnser wen I speak to 'er. 
Howsumever, she was so bizzy readin' the paper she 
didn't say a word ; and it han't orfen as she reads either, 
so thinks I, it don't signifi, I'll let 'er improve 'er mind, 
and she sha'n't be mislested by me, 

I was jest fiilin' anuther pipe o' baccy, when she 
bursted out all of a sudden, an' ses she, " Oh, Joe !" 
" Who's 'it yer. now ?" ses I. 

" Oh," ses she, " did yer ever heer anythink like this 
'ere advertizement," and then she begins to rede, " Buty ! 
Buty ! Buty ! important to feemales o' the sorfter sex. 
Proiessur Spagley, havin' devoted 'is life to the study o' 
the sekret arcades o' natur, butifies the nobility, gentri, 
and the publik for two pun' ten, or seven an' sixpense a 
bottl'. Rinkles removed and eyes enlarged very mode- 
rit with the elarstik enamil. The barm o' Mesopotamier 
makes the holdest pusson as lissum as Heeb, the God- 
dess o' Buty, removes crow's fete in wun nite, and 
kivers the bald skalp o' hage with flowin' loks o' gold." 

" Ah," ses I, " that's a mitey pennurth o' nothin' ain't 
it?" — "Oh,"- she ses, "it must be troo," ses she. 
" Here's the letters from the gentry. 

" i T :,TIMONEYS. 

" « Slapdash 'All. 
a c Sir, — My korns feels uncommon kumfortabl' since yer 
took em orff with yer galvanised medikal, an I ope I shall 
soon ? ave sum more, — Your 'umble servt., 

" « The Markis o' Slapdash/ 

«<The Bloo Anker. 
" ' Sir, — Avin' washed my nose with the mixter last week, 
I'm 'appy to tell yer its kum strait agin ; and, as Im goin* to 
be married to a nobleman in Poland, I should be glad if yer'd 
kum an' giv me awa' and reseev the thanks of yours, 

" i CLARLR ^ , UTTYFISH. , 



36 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS, 

« < South Afriky, April 1st. 
" 6 Sir, — Plees to send anuther too boxis o' your dentifris : 
the larst I took 'as made my rite hyebrow quite bushey ; also 
a quart o' pimpl' eradikatur, wich does wunders with the 
blaks. Anybody doutin' the trooth o' this will please favur 
me with a kail. — Yourn in haste, 
" < Purfessur Spagley.' " " ' A. Mugman. 

" O," ses she, " ain't it wonderful ? Fd jest give the 
world to tri it afore we goes to 'Ampton Kort." " Git 
out," I ses, "yer old stoopid. What do you want to 
look butiful for at yure time of life ?" 

" That's rite," ses she, breakin' out a crying, " Deni 
me hevery little pleshur, Joe," ses she, " Don't take no 
pride in me as is yer lorful wife an' the mother o' yer 
children, but give yer hart to sinjeing the donkey and 
paintin' up the barrer instid." 

" Well," I ses, " youre good enufFfor me anyhow as 
yer are." 

" Good enufF," ses she, gushin' afresh. " If you'd 
got the pride of a man in yer, yer wouldn't kiver up 
Neddi with them there rosets an' leev me nothin', as if 
yer thort I was a animal, You can wear your green 
saten veskit an' red velvit kap like any gentleman," ses 
she, " but, ow am I to look like the ladis if I don't put on 
a bit of paint ?" Well, Fm never much of a wun for 
argifyin' with wimmen, for why ? Bekos ven you've 
pinned em up in a korner vith a long wurd they busts 
out cryin' an' you're oblijed to let 'em go agin. So I ses, 
savij like, ses I, " Wat is it yer want ?" " Why," she 
ses, " deer, if you'd jest go and see the Purfessor an' 
by a pot or too o' paint yer mite do me up a bit, an' I 
shood be dry as soon as the barrer, an' then we can all 
go out respectabr together." 

Yer wouldn't beleev I was sich a fool, but I am ; for 
the very next mornin' I goes over to Purfessur Spagley 
an' takes a sak vith me for the paints an' brushis. 

Wat puffeck gentlemen barbers is ! See 'em wen yer 



ON THE BEAUTIFUL. 37 

will yer finds their 'air iled, and pretty nigh all their 
wurds is in fore synables, an hends with a hen. 

Wen I got to the shop I sees a orful long chap as 'ad 
got one o' the prettiest little 'eds ; you could a most ha' 
put it in a kwart pot. His hye an' his nekti was bloo ; 
likewise he 'ad a dubble-brested weskit with kuffs an' a 
pair o' pumps ; also wearin' a thick chane. 

Wen he sees me he dubbles hisself up like a krimped 
kod fish, and, ses he, " Ave the kompleshure to be 
seted, sir," he ses ; " what a salubrus day." 

" Rayther windy," ses I. 

u Yes," ses he, " As I observed yesterday, when I 
was retirin' to rest, it'll be a fearful nite for them as is 
exposed to the riggers o' the storm." 

I see I warn't a bit o' good with im at fine talk, so I 
ses, "I got a bit of a tittivatin' job on, guvner, and I 
heers as 'ow you sells the paints." 

" Yes," he ses, " I vends the pigments," ses he. 

" Oh, it ain't a pig," I ses, " it's a feemale, I ses, a 
relashun o' mine," for 'anged if I liked to say it was my 
wife. 

" Describe the simkins," ses he, jest like a doktor, 
" and I'll priscribe." 

" Well," ses I, " she han't no buty, to begin with." 

" Buty's only flour," ses he, " but on the cheek o' 
woman its flour in the rite plase. 

" Is 'er 'air strong ?" he ses. 

"Well," I ses. "it's rather bitty. She brakes a 
kome twise a week wen she dus it up." 

" Is there any baldness ?" ses he. 

" A little on the top," I ses, "for she amooses 'erself 
in karryin' a baskit full o' froot, jest for fun," I ses, 
u sometimes," for I didn't like to tell 'im wot we was. 

"O," he ses, "it han't the froot as brings it orif; its 
freenolledgey." 

u It carat be that," I pops out, without thinkin', 
" for we don't sel it." 

" I mean the orgins," he ses. 



38 MR. SPROUTS BIS OPINIONS. 

"Well," ses'I, " I've heerd o' orgins playin' their- 
selves out o' wind, but I never heerd o' one playin' the 
'air off nobody's 'ed afore." 

"I don't mene the Italyun orgins," he ses, "but the 
orgins o' science. The 'eds full o' kumpartments, as 
'olds the feelings o' the hart, and wen yer ovurwurks 
one on em," ses he, " the 'air falls off." 

"Ah," I ses, "jest as a notty bit o' string in a 
donkey's arniss '11 rub 'is bak as klene as a wissel in no 
time," ses I. 

" Exackly ; you're used a 'omely illusterashun, but it 
affords a satisfaktry ilusidashun," ses he, smilin'. " Wot's 
the shape of her 'ed ?" ses he. 

" Well," I ses, " she's got a oblong sort o' nob, like 
a kidney pertater." 

" 'As she got any scars on her face ?" 

" Nothin' to speke of," I ses ; ." there's a bit of 
a wun on the bridge of 'er nose, but it han't very 
long." 

" What's 'er eyebrow like ?" he ses next. 

" Like the bak of a herrin'," ses I, " rayther skraggy." 

" Ah," he ses, " we'll soon set that to rites. A 
puffect eyebrow," ses he, " should emyerlate the arch 
o' the rainbo, and, wen it don't," ses he, " yer must 
touch up the brakes in it with this heer till yer makes it. 

" Is she a bland or a brownett ?" ses he. 

" Wat d'ye mean ?" ses I. 

" Is she dark or fare ?" ses he. 

" Rayther smoky," ses I. 

Arter he'd put all this down, he fetches a lot o' little 
bottles, and puts 'em down on the kounter. 

" This heer," ses he, " is the barm of Mesopotamier 
for applyin' nite and mornin' to the orgin o' poetrie, 
where I fancis, from the description, the 'air falls orff. 
Kiver hup the dekliverties in the face with the elarstik 
pigment, an' use the tinkter o' iodin' for the vissij 
accordin' to taste ; then put the likwid rooje on. the tips 
o' the elburs, nukkles, and finger nales." 



ON THE BEAUTIFUL. 39 

" She han't got no nales to put 'em on," ses I. 

" In that kase, let 'er ware these ere nale shields as 
'ill make 'em grow like filburts in a week," ses he, " and 
put sum o' this e}e opener under the optic, and that 'ill 
make her like one o' the armond-hied butis o' Circassher 
And these pills," he ses, " is for korns and poreness o y 
blood." 

"'Ave yer got any think for poreniss o' sperrit?" I 
ses, " cause I'll take a bottle." 

" Oh, that's dun," says he, " by the kultivashun o' 
rectitude." 

" What's the figger o' the wash for that ?" I ses. 

" Oh," ses he, " yer gits that by revellin' in the 
delites o' luvly landskapes, chased forms, and gorjus 
senes, an' by readin' the Book of Etikwet. As the 
disiplin proseeds, and yer usis one or two bottles o' the 
wash, ugliness and wulgarity leaves the fase like a 
shadder as was but ain't, and she'll git as 'andsum as 
Kubit, the God o' War." 

With that I puts the things in the sak, and ses I — 

" Good-bye, purfessur," and left the shop. 

When I got 'ome Betsy was a expectin' of me as 
impashunt as a eel waitin' to be skinned, and I 'ardly 
got in afore she ses — 

" Now then, Joe, I'm kwite reddy. Let's begin." 

"Well," says I, the fust thing I ses is, "What dye 
want to be — a bland or a brownett ?" 

" Oh, a bland, Joe," she ses ; " that's wite, ain't it ? 
and it'll look so preety aside o' the bloo o' the barrer." 

" All rite," I ses, " then s waller that nite and mornin', 
and she bolted a thimbleful o' the elarstik pigskin. 

"Why," ses she, "it tastis for all the world like 
permatum." 

"Well, all medsin tastes like permatum, don't it?" 
ses I. "If it was nice it wouldn't do yer no good." 

" Now," ses I, " this ere pigment's to be rubbed on 
the orgin ot poetre ; but you must do it yerself ," ses I, 
"for blest if I han't tired o' the whole thing." 



40 MR SPROUTS HIS OF IN IONS. 

Well, she went awa for a long time, and by-and-by 
she kum out o' the room, looking wun o' the most 
orful old kures I ever see. Her cheek was like a half- 
biled puddin' as had been drop'd in rarsbry jam. Her 
eye was as streaky as a wild Injin in a karawan. As 
for 'er forrid it was all eyebrow, an' 'er nose was redder 
than ever. 

" Don't I look nise, Joe?" she ses. 

"Wy, yer old hidjut," ses I, "go an' git yerself 
biled, afore it all sinks in." 

"Well," ses she, pettish, "if I warnt in a hurry to 
git out, blessed if I wouldn't sit down an' kry. 'Ow 
you tork. I feels a little stikky ; but I never see such 
a alterashun as it makes in all my life." 

The barrer was waitin', so I took 'er out, and d'rekly 
Neddy see 'er he give a reg'lar larf in 'is nosebag. How- 
sumever, off we druv, the old woman bobbing at the 
pep'l on all sides like a lady ; and them skeerin' at us 
till I felt that sort of tiklin', creeping feelin' I alius 
has when I'm ashamed. 

" Joe," ses Betsy, "I'm kumin over orful quarmish. 
I 'ope that pigment was the rite stuff. I feels like a 
pysoned beadle." 

I thort we should ha' got out on it all right, wen jest 
as we turned the korner into the 'igh road a boy twigged 
us, and give us a chyhike. 

"Wy," he ses, " 'ere's Mrs. Sprouts as got the 
meesles, and is going to be vaksinated." 

With that the warmint follered us, an' began peltin' 
the barrer, and all the busseys twigged us, too, and 
begun throwin' their jeers out, till I felt as mad as a 
hatter, and the old lady begins to kri, and jest at that 
time the donkey got out o' temper, an' puts 'is leg down 
a plug-'ole, and rolls us all over in the mud. 

As soon as Betsy got up, wot with the teers and the 
mud and the warnish, she looked for all the world like 
a second-'and ile paintin' as 'ad got in the rain for 
4s. 6d., and I was that wild as I was 'ardly sorry for 'er 



THE DERBY DAY, 41 

at all, so I lifts up Neddy, and 'elps 'er into the shay, 
and givin' her the ranes, ses I — 

u Jist drive yerself 'ome yerself," ses I, "for yer 
don't make a fool o' me no more." 

When I got 'ome agin at nite she was all rite, an' she 
wanted me to bring a akshun agin the purfessur, but 
ses I — 

"I've 'ad enuff o' portrit paintin' an' purfessurs this 
jurney, and don't let's never meddle with either on 'em 
no more." 



THE DERBY DAY. 

'TT'HE wust of a large bizness like ourn is you always 
-*- must leave some risponsible pusson to look after 
it. Our donkey is a most intelligent creetur, but he 
can't give change ; and the consekuence is that either 
me or Mrs. Sprouts is bound to be in his company when 
he goes his rounds in the mornin'. We left him once 
in the care of one of our artikled pupils, a youth of 
eleven summers, while we went to a flour show ; but 
wen we come to ballinse up our accounts next day we 
found ourselves aktilly out o' pockit ; for the little 
stoopid hadn't made the least use of the bit of lead 
underneath the tater skales, and he'd used the rong 
meshure with the plums, treating the kwart pot with 
the false bottom to it with the utmost disdane, jest as if 
it was a thing of nort. 

So we was obliged to settle it that I should go to the 
Darby by myself — leastways, that Betsy should stay at 
home, and that she should 'ave her enjoyment on the 
Oaks Day, which is more sootable for the fair sect. 
There vos a small party of mails as had made up their 
minds to go along with me. First, there was young 
Snapper, my dawter's lovyer, or fianky as they calls 
'em in furrin parts abroad. He's the sixth she's had 



42 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

vithin three months — (the huming hart is a ticklish 
thing) — but, as they've managed to keep together for 
over four Sundays runnin', I'm in 'opes I shall vun day 
be abel to clarsp him to my bozum and call him sun. 
By natur he's a hare-dresser, but charnce has made him 
a spekkylatur in turfs, for, havin' once vun seventeen 
and sixpence by takin' the odds, he has gone on in- 
vestin' the best part ot his wages and losin' it with 
grate reggylarity ever since ; and what with readin' of 
the prophets, and hangin' about publick-house dores, 
he's alius brimfull of informashun, and has the very 
best tips, though he generally manijes to get hold of the 
wust horses. As for judgin' of a animal, he's as simpel 
as a child ; but his mouth's full o' sich big turms as 
" butiful akshun," " slopin' hind kwarters," " want of 
form," & cettery, as he flings about very free ; and if 
he ain't able to gammon others he's always able to make 
a tolerably reasonable sort of donkey of hisself. 

Then there was Hair Schmorkoal, a grate perlitekal 
refugee from Jarmany, as lodgis in our bak attik tem- 
porary till the next revylution restores him his paturnal 
istates. Not vishin' to be idel in the meantime, he's 
taken to the sugar-bakin', for he sez if he didn't give 
his mind to sum absorbin' branch o' study, it 'ud go 
madd in thinkin' of his murdered parent as was a count. 
He's got rather big thumbs for the son of a nobleman, 
but in everything else he's pufFeck. When he ain't 
smokin' he's argefyin' with us to prove how much better 
and more knowin' his countrymen is than ourn ; and 
though he's rather extravagant in baccy, and carries a 
pockit-komb, he stints hisself wonderful in sope and 
sich-like amusements of a luxurius age. 

So, at about nine o'clock on the Wensday mornin', 
we was all packed in the van and reddy to start from 
the rag-shop dore. Our vehicle was a pretty thing 
called the " Littel John," painted in yaller on the panils, 
as was covered with picters of hosses, and cyphers, and 
monnygrams, and other wild animals. Me and my 



THE DERBY DA Y 43 

frends, along with other darin' sperrits, climbed up the 
ladder and took our seats on the roof, and the tale-bord 
was occypide with two trumpits, a kettel-drum, and a 
floot, so as the harmony shouldn't friten the horses, and 
also that the village peasantry as heerd us a comin' 
might fancy the music was more onairthly through not 
bein' abel to see the performers. 

" Strike up, Joe," sez the driver, parsin' the wurd to 
the leader of the orchestry as he mounted the box ; 
and then, with a vild chear from the children, we 
started off to the toon of " The Light of Other 
Daze," and I never see so menny nitecaps and kullered 
hankechers wavin' from the windies in my life before. 

The fust four or five miles was rather a struggle foi 
the cornit, as had only one lung, espeshally in placis 
where the roads wanted mendin', vich made him giv the 
toon rather more wobbly than it is in natur' ; but when 
we got about as far as Clapham he got a good steddy 
blow on, and kep it up rite away to the korse, to the 
grate delite of all the hosses we met, for they darnced 
frekwently with pleasure, partickler in the narrer bits ot 
the road. 

On first gettin' into the wan, bein' most on us 
strangers, we treated vun anuther with maidenly reserve; 
but under the influence of the musik, and two or three 
stoppages to inspect public buildins in the towns of 
Balham, Tootin', and Mitcham, our conversashun got 
very sparklin', and soon nothin' but hairy jests, bon 
motes, and slices of kold pork, and cettery, was flying 
about from vun to the other. 

Jest as we got into Sutton, old Tootle, the leader of 
our band, stops short in the middel of a flourish, and 
sez 'e to Blowhard, the cornit, " Heer, stop a bit; 
what d'yer mean by that noise r" he sez ; " I hope yer 
don't mean to call that infernal croakin' the second part 
of • Johnny Kums Mar chin' Home !' " 

" Bless my life," sez Blowhard, " I thort you ordered 
'Avay vith Melankolly ;' " but he set hisself rite in a 



44 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

hinstant, and blew us avay in fine style through Sutton 
and rite up to Epsom, vithout stoppin' any more till ve 
come in site of the Grand Stand. When we had got 
the horses out, and the wehicle properly jammed in near 
two butiful car ridges filled with ladies and gentlemen, 
we sit down to our 'umbel reparst. The music was at 
peace, and soon no other sound was heerd but the 
clatterin' of knives and phawks and the pickin' of bones, 
mingled with the occashional boomin' of a bung out of 
a stone bottel and low murmurs of " parse the sarlt." 
Hair Schmorkoal, after runnin' down the English 
cookery, performed with grate feelin' on some cold 
stake pie, but Snapper het sparin' of his vittles for the 
sake of keepin' his hed kool for the bettin' transaktions, 
wich seemed to be a stupid vay of comin' out to enjoy 
yerself by turnin' a holiday into all the anxieties of 
bizniss. 

" Now then, boys," I sez, as soon as dinner was 
over ; " who's for a walk through the tents and over 
the korse ?" 

"I'll go," sez Schmorkoal; "your ground is not so 
pretty as ours in Lippy Lumbago, and your gipsies don't 
appear to be so brown ; but I will go to look at dem 
wit' much pleasure in spite of dat." 

" I sharn't," sez Snapper-, " I'm a goin' of? to larn 
the state of the markit at the bak of the Grand Stand. 
I've got a fust-rate thing for the Town Plate," he sez, 
wisperin' to me, " Attachy, a splendid creetur — wonder- 
ful action. I've had it direct from a friend o' mine at 
headquarters as supplies the stabel with beans. He 
must win, Mr. Sprouts," he sez, showin' me eighteen 
shillings, "and before nite comes I means to turn this 
into fifty pound." 

So me and Mr. Schmorkoal started ofF to see the 
kustoms o' the country together. The fust thing I - 
showed him was the sticks stuk uprite in baskits of sand 
and kivered with valyable property. He sed the sand in 
their country was better •, 'owsumever, he would have a 



THE DERBY DA Y. 45 

throw; and arter he'd sent eighteen pennurth o' sticks 
flyin' through the air he got two koker nuts and a 
bodkin-case. He wosn't kwite so lucky in his rifle 
practis, for he fired away two and thrippence at a 
speckled targit box before he hit the spring in the 
middle, and wen he did up floo the lid, and out bobbed 
one of the rummiest little shaggy-headed dolls I ever 
see, vith a big horsehair-beard and a little turn-up nose, 
about the size of a pimple. 

" Ha, ha, ha," sez Schmorkoal, larfm', " vot do you 
call the name of dis funny little fellow ?" 

"I dunno," sez the man, very innersent; "he looks 
more like one o' them Jarman refugee villins than any- 
thing I ever clapped eyes on." 

"You tief," screamed Schmorkoal; "you are von 
horse doctor. I am a natif of Lippy Lumbago; vot 
mean you by insult my kountry ?" 

Fearin' bloodshed, I drew him gently away, and per- 
posed a gallop on the downs to ristore his sperrits. 
'Avin' found two lively donkeys, we vos soon scourin* 
along swifter than the vind, but in attemptm' to show 
me how they cleared stone vails in the German ridin- 
schools he cum to grief clean in the middel of a furze 
bush, and ven I pulled him up agin he set to bullyin' 
our donkeys for bein' thawtless creeturs of impulse, and 
sed our bushes was ten times more spiteful and prickly 
than them in his own country. 

By this time the fust race was over, and I started off 
to see how Snapper was gettin' on at the other side of 
the korse ; but before I left Schmorkoal I give him 
particular instrukshuns to keep his wether eye watchful. 

Ven I got into that miserabl' narrer lane where some 
o' them bettin' book-makers has their stand, I never 
see such a roarin' and strugglin' or so many retchid 
facis krouded together in my life before. It was a 
wonderful change, after leavin' the korse vere people 
seemed a larfin' and enjoyin' of themselves, to kum to 
rivs den, and behold a lot o' greasy-hatted, shabby- 



46 MR. SF ROUTS HIS 0P1M0NS. 

lookin' kreeturs as looked as if they didn't git a bit o* 
dinner .more than, once a month, all a runnin'up and 
down and starin' at their bettin' lists, as if they was 
ordurs ior their execution. At larst I see Snapper 
standin' very glum and spooney up in a korner. 
" Well," I sez, coming up lively, " how've yer got on ?" 

" Got on," he sez, " nohow ; but its alwis the way. 
I had the very best inrormashun, but lortin's agin me. 
But," he sez, " what a lucky thing it is I've heerd of a 
certainty for the Derby ; I shall pull up on that race, 
Mr. Sprouts. Magnificent form, splendid sholeders ; 
Knapsack is sartin for a place, for I got the inrormashun 
from a friend of mine as married the fust cuzzen ot the 
bootcloser what stitched the upper leather ol the jockey's 
boots ;" and as I heerd the bell a ringing to klear the 
korse for the grand race, I left him a postin' of the rest 
ox his money at one ot the wooden stands. 

When I got to the top oi the hill agin I found pore 
Schmorkoal a tearin' of his 'air. It appeared that after 
I went away a feller kum up to him as begun by torkin' 
about the buty of the weather, and wound up by 
bringin' out three kards, and after giving 'em a bit 01 a 
shuffle arskin' Schmorkoal if he could tell which was 
the ace. The first few times he was very lucky, and 
two or three people as sidled up very promiskus kep 
advisin' him to go on ; then he put a silver watch for 
the next stakes, and while he was lookin' at the kards 
somebody sings out " Bonnit," and his hat went over 
his eyes, and when he pulled it up again his watch was 
gone, and so was the " intelligent natives." 

I cheered him up as well as I could, for the bell was 
ringin' to clear the korse for the grate race, and we 
walked over to see the start. Presently we heard a 
buzzin' on the rite, and lookin' round, the paddick was 
dotted with the rainbow kullers of the jockeys' uniforms, 
and one by one the butiiul sleek kreeturs of hosses come 
trippin' over the velvit grass to the startin' post, all a 
starin' at yer proud and shy-like with their large shinin' 



THE DERBY DAY. 47 

eyes, and a tremblin' with life and fire like a seventeen- 
year-old gal danism* her first polker ; yes, there they 
vos, hosses and men, sleek and clean, not a buckle or a 
button more than was wanted about 'em, pufi^ct so far 
as the body goes. Lord, alter a year in toun amongst 
broken-doun donkeys and old spavined cab quadrupids 
— not to speak of the dubbled-up fellers as mostly 
drives em — and, above all, arter the sailer faces, spider 
legs, and bibel baks shufflin' up and doun them bettin' 
tents, it was a site as giv yer sum sort o' faith in natur 
agin, coming as it did along with the nutty smell or the 
fresh breezes and the glimps of the purpel fields 
stretchin' far away in the distance, in a manner o' 
speakin' right up to the edge or heaven. 

Now we all held our breths, and presently off some 
on 'em started, and the earth shivered underneath us ; 
but it wouldn't do, and they had to toe the scratch agin. 

Then each man picked out his favourit hoss and 
called to the jockeys to take care of 'em, and ever so 
many more foolish things ; for, yer see, some of the 
porest on us had a year's hard savings hangin' upon 
this race. 

Then they startid agin, and faled agin, and got back 
once agin to the startin' post. 

Then at larst they all went oil in a cluster, and the 
flag went down, and there was one grate shout from 
thousands oi lips, some on 'em as begun to look already 
as if they'd 'ave to be moisened with a drop of kold 
water ; and then we all broke up and run like a hundred 
pack oi hounds to the top of the hill opperzite to the 
winnin' post. 

I shall never forgit that site. Rite awiy, as far as 
yer eye 'ud take yer, the ground was kivered with people, 
as if it had bin rainin' blak pepper for a fortnite. You 
could see little blak things hangin' on the tree branches, 
and you noo they was men, and all the sharpers even 
was standin' on their narrer stools, and in a manner o* 
speakin' turned men too, for jest for a few moments 



48 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

they'd manijed to forgit theirselves. There wasn't a 
crack of rifle firin', for every tout and cadger was 
standin' at the dore of his tent. There wasn't a sound 
of anythink, for the hosses hadn't nicely come in site •, 
but you noo that in every livin' soul, up to the feller 
sittin' within eighteen inches of the chimney-pots on the 
Grand Stand, there was a pot a bubblin' and a biling 
over with worrit and care and expektashun. 

Then I dashed over almost d'rekly opperzite to the 
Grand Stand to see the finish. 

And then the people right in the far away begun to 
make a noise. Fust it was a holler, brazen, metally 
sort o' sound, like the noise of a thousand hammermen 
tappin' rivets in the iron. sides of a man-of-war, and as 
we turned our facis and see the red and bloo and green 
and yaller of the jockeys' kotes bearin' doun on us as 
swift as streaks of kullered lightnin', it swelled into the 
loud roar and bayin' of thousands of excited men, vich 
is like nothin' else in natur but itself. 

And now they kum plump upon us. Bribery colt 
jest a little bit ahead of Lord Lyon, and his jockey 
givin' the most horrid look of fear and trubble over his 
sholeder at the fav'rit, as yew don't orfen see in these 
kwiet times. 

But it was no use. In another sekond Custance mite 
ha' looked over his sholeder at Bribery's jockey, for in 
one or two terrible strides Lord Lyon landed hisself the 
winner of the Derby of 1 866. 

I was jest singing out " hooray," and flingin' up my 
kap, when I see Knapsack valkin ? in larst among a lot 
of others as seemed to be a talkin' together, nose to 
nose, as much as to say they thort it foolishness of Lyon 
to put himself in sich an everlastin' hurry when there 
was plenty o' time to spare. And right away in a corner 
was Snapper, leanin' agin the wheel of a waggin, and 
starin' at his unlucky hoss with his face puckered up 
in as many rinkles as the bellows of a German con- 
certeena. 



THE DERB Y DA Y 49 

u Oh dear, oh dear," he sez, soon as he see me, " if 
I hadn't a listened to that infernal bootmaker's advice I 
shouldn't ha' come to this. Why didn't I do as Chalkey, 
the milkman, sed, as never whispered any think but 
Lyon all along ? Why was I born ? — halso, Why am 
I livin' ? Oh, Mr. Sprouts, I had marked out a butiful 
futur for all on us, if I had only won. I would have 
marrid your luvly orfFspring, and hevery Sunday treatid 
the entire famerly to tea in the Veil of Helth at 'Amp- 
stead for ninepence an ed." 

But I'd hardly set to work to make 'im more kum- 
furtabl' in his mind when he filled out agin like a 
hindy-rubber windy ball with a fresh lot o' plans for 
getting all his munny back on the Hoax. 

Soon arter this we all set off homewards, Schmorkoal 
explainin' to me, just as we was gettin' in the van, that 
their racehorses was rayther superior to ourn bekos 
they was better kivered up with hair about the fetloks. 
Ve dashed off at a rattlin' pace, the musishuns playin' 
" Farewell, thou Luvly Vally," as we left the korse. 
The driver wore a false nose and a pair of large horse- 
hair mustarshers, and he had not bin allowed to want 
for refreshment during the day ; yet, notwithstandin' 
this, he couldn't keep his axel klear of a sort of koal 
waggon, and in backin' to free his self he got one of his 
wheels down a little slopin' ditch by the roadside, and 
tilted us all into one corner like so menny saks o' 
pertaters. Schmorkoal begun to bully the English 
ditchis, and most on us grumbled or skreamed, except 
the trumpeter, as kep blowin' away at the " Last Rose 
of Summer," though his head was hangin' half under- 
neath the tale-board. At larst we got the road agen, 
and held it, partly by good drivin' and partly by the 
strength of our weals, as generally kum off best in the 
thousand nateral shoks that vans is hair to. 

Ve dismountid at Sutton for the purpose of findin' 
out whether the deservin' inhabitants of the place was 
properly supplied vith beer •, but we had a little trubble 

E 



50 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

with the driver at starting but as the drum and the floot 
was already seatid and bio win' their enlivenm' strains, 
we at larst persuadid him to mount his box. 

By the time ve got to Balham it was kwite dark, and 
this rayther interfered vith the musik, for each on em 
fell to a playin' on his own akkount. The floot took 
up the second part of the "Prairy Flour," while the 
two trumpits blew " Thou Hopeless Sons of Klay," and 
the drum chimed in vith the korus of " Paddy McGee." 
At the same time Schmorkoal roared out a Garmin 
song full of horrid soundin' furrin words, and the 
driver set to cryin' on the box bekos somebody had 
kalled him " dumplin' hed," and he 'adn't bin abel to 
get down and chastise him ; and somewhere about in 
this style we was set down agin at the rag-shop dore at 
harf-past eleven o'clock at nite, from fourteen to fifteen 
hours arter we left it in the mornin'. 



LORD MAYOR'S DAY. 

I T*HE ninth o' November is alius a great day with us ; 
■*■ all show days is ; they kind o' give huming natur' 
a new coatin' o' culler, and it's as if the stage of existens 
had been reopened agin with intirely new scenery and 
decorations. Life seems to be not so much of a battle, 
but rather more of a triumfal march. Reason goes to 
bed, and the feelins wakes up. All things looks meller 
and seems to lose their nubbly points, and you feels as 
if you wanted to forgive sumbody. The wimmen 
makes up famerly quarrels, and has a pleasant cry, and 
the men take their weed together out of the same 
baccy-box, and makes one another presints of pouches 
and cullered pipes. It's a fust- rate day if you want to 
git anybody to be security for a five-pound loan. 

Arter me and Betsy had had brekfast, we put our 



LORD MA YORS DA Y. 51 

pretty clothes on and went and took our stand up near 
Temple Bar. It was a nice sight: what with flags 
a-fiyin' and the youths and maidens makin' love at the 
winders, and the brandy-ball and peppermint men, and 
the children pourin' out of the neighbourin' courts with 
the pleasin' persuasion on their faces that things had 
took a new turn and there was alius a-goin' to be 
summat to eat for dinner from this time forth. I felt 
happy, and when suddintly we see a little bustle in the 
distance, and heerd that holler kind o' brazen sound 
which crowds makes when they shout, and the bells 
begun a tollin' furious, and the mounted perleesemen 
came in sight, and the winders begun to wave their 
hankechers, and the back rows begun a fightin' for the 
fust places, then we knowed his ludship was a comin', 
and sure enuff he did come, in all his glory, with his 
brass bands and his gallant solejers and rows of firemen, 
and warlike-lookin' watermen, and strings of footmen 
with their hair whitewashed, and brave coaches, and 
then more footmen and bands and solejers, and a string 
of perleesemen last. Their is a skillington in every 
house. 

I was a makin' my way home, highly delited with my 
day's sport, when a tall young man, without no shoes 
on and his clothes well ventilated at the elbers and the 
knees, rushed through the crowd at the head of half a 
dozen others similarly ventilated, bonnetin' his feller 
creatures with the greatest fairness ; and when he got 
near me he give me a violent shove, which sent me agin 
Betsy, which knocked two bugles out of her bonnit 
and loosened her chignong; and when he had done 
that, he give a short laff, and was about to pass on like 
a butiful dream. 

" Stop, young feller !" says I, " stop ! I won't detain 
yer a moment," and I dragged him by his coat-tails up a 
court and give him three very deliberate and forcible 
hits upon his smutch of a nose. 

"Why," I said to him softly, when this was done — 



52 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" why will you not leave off bonnetin' and advance 
with the sperrit of the age ?" 

There was something in my woise, and, still more, 
there was something in my manner, which seemed to 
have touched one of his cords. He looked into my face 
a moment with a inquirin' expression, as if he had lost 
his way, and then his proud sperrit was broken, and he 
burst into tears. 

" I will try," he said, " I will try. Thanks for these 
few remarks. Heaven bless you !" — and we parted. 
One touch of nature hurts us all alike. 

When I got home I found a affectionate letter invitin' 
me to the feast. " It's ridiculous to leave you out, Joe," 
sez the writer, " for if you ain't one of the ministers of 
public instrucshun, who is ? So come and take a 
morsel o' reel turtle, and bring as many o' your famerly 
as you can spare. We commences peckin' at half-past 
six to the minnit. — Ever thian, Anolymus." 

According, in the* evenin' me and Betsy druv down 
together in a 'Ackney cab. I was in the ushel waiter's 
garmints, bought of Brockey, but I had lost my shiney 
boots, so I borrowed a pair which was a inch too long 
for me, and had wadding in the toes; and she was 
dressed like a canary, in a gound made of yaller satan, 
and a shawl covered all over with stripes, after the 
model of a union jack ; also she wore a chignong, and 
her hair was peppered with gold-dust. I thought she 
looked like a Guy Fox, but I said nothink; it's no use 
tryin' to fight a woman about her dress. 

When we delighted in Guildhall-yard, and had give 
up our hats and things, we walked into a kind o' tent 
place fitted up with soots of armour and weppuns on 
the walls, and two rows of infant riflemen called cadits 
down each side of it, and they give us a millingtery 
saloot, and we walked through into the Guildhall, a 
feller bawlin' out our names loud enuff to make the 
hevings fall. It was a dredful flusterin' thing. We 
was penned up between two rows of people who was 



LORD MAYORS DAY. 53 

waitin' to see the grand folks go by, and there was no 
breakin' through em, or turnin' to the right or left, but 
we had to march straight onwurd until we crossed the 
Guildhall, and then into a long passij with busties and 
picters at the sides, and all lined with people too ; and 
then into a antechamber, still crammed with black cotes 
and pryin' faces ; and then sharp round to the left ; and 
then, " O goodness gracious me," sez Betsy, and I 
said so too. 

We was in a large room, packed as close with men 
and wimmen as Sardinians in a can, and there was jest 
a narrer lane between 'em, which it was just as much as 
severil millingtery-looking youths with wands in their 
hands could keep it clear ; and at the end of the lane 
was three steps risin' one above another and kivered 
with red cloth, and at the top of the steps was three 
golden chairs, and standin' in front of the chairs was 
the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress and their 
darter, and a male creetur with a great rosette upon his 
breast a-bawlin' out everybody's name as soon as they 
got to the top of the little alley. 

It was a tryin' scene, for direckly your name was 
bawled out you had to go forrard, walk up the steps, 
make three bows to the grandees, which they made 
three bows to you, and then parse on into another 
room. Two pussons as walked up before us mounted 
the scaffild fust, and when I thought of my turn 
a comin', and havin' to walk the whole length of them 
two rows of starin' eyes and make my bow, I begun to 
shiver, and tried to push my way through the people at 
the side, and hide myself in a corner ; but this didn't 
soot Betsy's fireplace nohow, for says she, " Be a man, 
Josef," says she ; and sez one of the millingtery fellers, 
" You can't parse through this way, sir — you must go 
straight on," and before I could colleck myself we was 
right in front of the steps, and the man a bawlin' out, 
"Mr. and Mrs Sprouts." 

I dashed through my head-shakin' in a instant, and 



54 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

should have got off all right if the toe of my boot hadn't 
caught the edge of one of the steps. I'd kalkilated the 
distance butiful for the real toe, but the false one, 
with the waddin' in it, deceived me, and nearly threw 
me to the yearth. Howsomever, I picked myself up 
savvij in a moment, and flew into a corner, expectin' 
Betsy to foller ; but, bless yer, she hadn't got through 
her first bow — she was figgerin' away in front of the 
Lady Mayoress, with her chignong in the air like the 
button on the top of a flagstaff, and the whole room 
was a titterin and whisperin' till I felt ashamed to 
own her. 

"Who is that indiscreet fimmel ?" says a old gentle- 
man, peerin' at her through his hye-glass. 

" She is the property of a distinguished literary 
character, I beleev," sez I. 

" What character ?" sez he. 

" Sprouts," sez I. " Have you ever read any of his 
works ?" (For I'm not ashamed o' fishin for compli- 
ments when I can do it safe.) 

" I tried to read one on 'em once," sez he, " but it 
was sich awful rubbish I really couldn't get to the end/' 

" Thank ye," sez I ; "it's strange I never looked at 
'em in that light before," and by this time the old lady 
had danced up to my side, and we stood to see the 
company arrive. 

And up they come in one swift stream. Big-wigs 
in silk stockins and knee smalls, and their trains held 
up behind 'em ; and city wigs in fur-tipped coats and 
cable chains o' solid gold and dymints round their necks, 
and archdeakons in their customary soots o' solium 
black, and Queen's Counsellors in red bedgounds with 
black sashes round their waists ; and there was Bovill 
with his smilin', plessunt face, and Montagu lookin' 
prettier than ever in his solejer's dress, and ever-larfin' 
Cairns, (what a lively time 'is nuss must have had with 
him, to be sure !) and deputies, and masters, and 
chaplins, and sekkvteries, in one continyel stream, till 



LORD MAYORS DAY 55 

I lost count on 'em, and turned my eyes away from the 
glare of their garmints, when suddintly there was a loud 
cry of "The Chancellor of the Exchekker," and in 
stalked Ben, amidst a tremenjus clappin' of hands and 
cryin' out " Brayvo !" 

Oh the depth of that face, the eyes cast down, and 
the corners of the mouth hidin' theirselves, as much as 
to say — " Our master is a very umbel cove, and nothin' 
distresses him so much as havin' to hole the strings of 
the national puss." It won all harts. " Bless his 
innersent face," says Betsy, " he looks that unsuspectin' 
that you might trust him to hold a baby in arms." 

But if Ben was deplauded the next one was vus- 
shipped, for soon arter him the usher cries out, 
" Epsom," and amid a pufFeck storm of claptrap old 
Hawkeye walked in, lookin' as much as to say, " Would 
anybody like to fight me ?" I dunno how it is, but 
there's something in the sight of a feller in the Govern- 
ment uniform which makes yer feel you'd much rayther 
have a kick from him than a kiss from anybody else. 

And then the whole lot stood standin' there in a 
circle chattin' to one another, we a pressin' all around 
'em, and in come the late Lord Mayor and jined us. 
Alas ! alas ! I too have had my days of greatness, 
Phillips, but 

"Who is that tall and stately pusson that looks as if 
he loved dumb animals ?" sez Betsy. 

"It is Lord John, my luv, the Tory warbler," 
sez I. 

And now all the Ministers was together chattin' to 
one another, smilin' at the Lord Mayor, and we all 
pressin' around 'em, and as I looked on 'em smilin' 
there, and chattin' and lookin' so mild and tender and 
Conservatif, I fust counted 'em as a hen might count 
her chicks to make sure as their numbers was all right, 
and then I began to think what a dreadful loss it 'ud 
be to England if sumbody was to suddintly enter with 
a blankit and burke the lot on 'em, and I looked up at 



56 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

the ceilin' anxius, For in some cases sich things have 
bin known to fall ; and then I counted em agin to be 
quite certain, and when Fd counted 'em I turned pail as 
the statty in Lester Square, for I'd never had sich 
a shock in my life. 

There was twelve on 'em but a moment ago, but now 
there was thirteen, and he was a person dressed from 
head to foot in black, and he had something behind 
him like the tip of a tail, and a sort of a toastin' fork at 
his side, and he walked as if he hadn't been used to 
wearin' boots ; and there he was, a smilin' like any other 
Tory, and lookin' with a most fatherly I on the group 
of Ministers before him. Adhere had he come from ? 
Not through the door, for he'd never bin announced, 
and not from the ceilin' either, for I was watchin' that. 
Where could he ha' come from ? 

" Lor' bless us, Josef," sez Betsy, " who is that 
dreadful individuel ?" (She is gettin' very fine in her 
words now.) 

"He is not an individuel, my dear," sez I, glocmy, 
"or else I should ha' knowed him ; he must be an in- 
stitootion. Individuels may be on committees ; but it is 
institootions alone that associates with the party that 
represents the nation." 

When I looked for him agin he'd vanished out of 
sight. 

Ben was standing by me when I said it, and his ear 
twinkled with pleasure, and he writ down something in 
his notebook. • 

Direkly after that we went to dinner. We had 250 
turins of turtle to begin with ; then we had 200 bottles 
o' sherbet ; then 60 pullets, also 60 pijjin-pies, thirteen 
sirloins, two barons, four-and-twenty geese, 140 jellies, 
&c, &c. ; and then we turned the table into a desert, 
and swallered 200 dishes of grapes, likewise pine-apples, 
and chips, and brandy-cherries, and ginger ; and when 
it was all over, and I was obliged to see some of it 
carried away, I began to understand the tears of that 



LORD MAYORS DAY. 57 

feller as cried bekos he couldn't conquer the world, and 
I begun to arsk myself whether it was troo that life 
was meerly a dream. 

" Josef/' sez Betsy, as soon as the Lord Mayor riz 
for the speechifyin' — " Josef," sez she, " what bekums 
of all the old Lord Mayors ?" 

It was a solium, but a puzzlin' question, so I pre- 
tended not to hear it. I wonder what does become on 
'em. I have often thought, when I have been steepin' 
my senses in turtle, that perhaps — but there, never 
mind, pease to their hash, wherever they are. 

Then they all stood up to drink the health of the 
Queen. It was a glorious sight better than the beginnin', 
when it was all trim and regilar — more picturesky, I 
think they calls it. Over a quarter of a mile o' tables, 
all strewed and chipped with the broken relics of the 
feast, great gold and silver dishes lollin' about careless, 
as if they didn't know but what they was made o' 
pewter and pine-apples, kind o' cryin' " Come eat me," 
and festoons o' flours, and the milk-white tabelcloths 
stained with the blood of grapes and half kivered with 
the husks o' filberts like forest grasses is with leaves in 
autumn time ; and all around 'em bright specks of culler 
from the solejers' dresses and dy mints glitterin' in the 
wimmin's breasts, and the shine of saten, and here and 
there a dab of coal-black velvit, and up aloft the little 
servant gals comin' to peep at us through the roof and 
run away ; and for sounds, the whisperin' of lords and 
ladies, and the rattle of Court swords, and the pleasant 
chink of glasses, and far away the wimmen's voices 
a-singin' out " God save her," and nearer home the 
murmurin' talk o' waiters spekkylatin' how much you 
was a-goin' to give 'em afore you went away. It was 
fine to see and hear, and to think they've bin carryin' 
on the same game off and on for nigh four hundred 
year in this same halh " O Lord, O Lord, what does 
it all mean ?" sez I, and then I turned my song book 
over careless, and my eye fell upon these words — 



58 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

ic The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself— 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve ; 
And, like the baseless fabric of a vision, 
Leave not a rack behind." 

And I sit down longin' for the time to come when I 
should be intrydoosed to Shakespeer, and not write for 
the daily papers any more. 

Arter that I bid good-bye to her Majesty's judges, 
and we went home, and as we druv through Leather- 
lane we see too hungry wretches a fightin' for a tater, 
and heerd the popilation holdin' their usuel conversation 
about remands. 

I wonder who that man in black was along with the 
Tory Ministers ! 

[Soon after the above was written, Mr. Sprouts had a sum 
of money left him by a distant relative in a remote land. He 
retired for a time from public life into a luxurious banishment 
in Belgrave-square. Happening, however, to lose his fortune 
by some unlucky investments, he returned, after a brief 
interval of travel, to the scenes of his earlier, and, as he 
always declared, his happier days. Having managed to pre- 
serve from the wreck of his possessions just enough to main- 
tain his family in comfort, he devoted his leisure to the study 
and improvement of his fellow-creatures. Mr. Brockey was 
a frequent and always welcome visitor at his old friend's house, 
and " Neddy" was well provided for in a warm and comfort- 
able stable built expressly for his accommodation. Mr. 
Sprouts, during his prosperity, had made the acquaintance of 
several prominent public men, who occasionally consulted him 
upon subjects connected with the welfare of the working- 
classes. In more than one instance these acquaintanceships 
survived the shock of our friend's reverses. The mention 
of these facts will throw light on much that might otherwise 
appear obscure in the following pages. — Ed.j 



CALAIS. 59 



CALAIS. 



JE suis arrived — meanin' of the abuv in English, " IV 
got among 'em." I kame by the bote of steam 
from Dover, and was considerable upset by the malady 
of the sea. This heer aint playful banter, it's a passij 
adapted from the French, wich langwidge is putt 
together very much like a certain pusson's prayers. 

The fact is, I was dyin', in a manner o' speakin', to 
see what these furrin moosoos was like. You are alius 
hearin' or readin' about em in England ; if yew takes 
up a noosepaper there's a long letter from Paris (per- 
nounced " Parry") tellin' yer all the feats of the Emperor, 
and his army, and his Court ; and, though yer don't 
hear much about the people, there's a thousand things 
as brings 'em up before yer every minnit of the day — 
French polish and French leave, for instance, not to 
speak of plaster of Parry and French beans ; besides, 
in all good sersiety the talk is konstantly about 'em. 

So I sez to myself " The very next excursion there 
is to France shall have me for a passenger ;" and 
accordin' me and my old lady started off from Ludgit- 
hill the other day in rout for Dover, and from there we 
got aboard a ship and steamed away to Kally. The 
sea is alius on the bile in these parts, bein' narrer ; and 
glad we was, arter we'd bin simmerin' for an hour, to 
ketch sight of the steeple of a Frenchman's hat. By 
degrees, as objecks got a little clearer, we made out the 
body o' the structure, and arter a bit we drew up along- 
side the peer in which it stood, one of the largest in 
my experiense, and then we landed amongst a crowd of 
little millingtery fellers dressed in baggy garmints, and 
we knowed we was in France. 

A' most the very moment I got ashore I found out as 
I'd fergot to bring summat with me — namely, the French 



60 MB. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

langwidge. We'd packed up very careful, too ; there 
was the teapot, and the gridiron, and the six shirts, also 
the pickles and the pockit lookin'-glass, and the cold 
sholeder of mutton as we'd made up our minds to fall 
back upon in case there was nothin' to eat but horse. 
But there was no langwidge ; and as I walked along to 
look out for a lodgin', bitterly did I regret having 
ventered here without it. The pekooliarity of this 
people seems to be that they're obstinit and do every- 
think upside down on purpus to make theirselves dis- 
agreeable to them as does it in the regilar way. Insted 
of wearin' bloo breeches and a red kote, as is rite for 
solediers, nothin' '11 sarve their turn but wearin' red 
breeches and a bloo kote, wich is vicey versy and makes 
a regiment o' their solediers in the distance look like 
one of the most ridikulous sites in natur, as if they was 
marchin' on their heads with their 'eels in the air. 
Their langwidge is the same — it's all upside down ; 
what you begins with they hauls in at the finish, and if 
they don't take to yer at once you may talk to 'em a 
month afore they'll try to onderstand yer. 

After landing we wandered on past a lot of shippin', 
and through crowds of women carryin' out the fresh- 
caught fish, and layin' 'em on the stones. I've seen a 
good menny fimmels in my time, but I don't think I ever 
see any as reminded me less in mind of the Goddess of 
Buty than these crittirs did. They was all dressed in 
outragiously short black frocks, and had nothink on 
their heads but white frilled nitecaps, that made the 
youngest look old enough to stand godmother to her- 
self, and they wore worstid stockins, wich, though they 
may add strength and comfort to the ankle, gives it 
rayther a timbery expression. " If Old Parr was to 
visit this port he would weep with rage to see what a 
age some people can grow to without swallerin' of his 
pills," thinks I, as we left the markit, and walked over 
the drawbridge into the town. This was the fust town 
with a wall round it I ever see, and I must say that I 



CALAIS, 61 

don't think it's a improvement. The ditch was half 
empty, and kivered with rubbish, and the chief thing 
twiggable thereon was a daddy-long-legs trying to 
sail across upon a pertater pealin', which must ha bin 
done more out of bravado than convenience, as the 
wind was blowin' a kapfull on his lea. I should think 
a good broadside from peashooters would severely try 
the curridge of the walls. Howsumever, through we 
went, past the " Hogarth Arms," inside the gateway, 
and soon found ourselves in a large paved square, jest 
for all the world sich another as yew see on the stage 
at Drury-lane when Gonsalver comes in and sez the 
yero of the piece has riled him to that degree that he 
must have his blood. All the houses was very tall and 
old, and looked as if they'd gone to bed white but got up 
yaller, like a buty the mornin' arter a ball ; and in one 
corner stood a great place with towers like a church, 
taller and older than all the houses round about. This 
was the Hotel de Veal, or Veal Hotel, which is their 
benited way of puttin' it when they mean Town Hall. 
Opperzite to this, oh joy! was a house where "English 
spoken here" was written on the blinds, and in we went 
and arsked to see the Englishman, and presently out 
skipped one of the most essentric darncin' barbers that 
ever trifled with our English tongue. He was tallish, 
and rather thin, and he'd got a hook nose, a forehed 
that reached up to his crown, no whiskers, and spiky 
mustarchers that stuck out on each side of him like the 
horns of a shrimp. Directly he see us he sings out 
" Yes, sare," and gives a kind of a twirl round on his 
toe, wiped nothink off the table, and then stopt ded in 
front of me and Betsy with sich a glare that I felt my 
hart sink down within me, and my pardner showed 
every simkin of getting ready for a faint. 

"Are yer quite sure you're the one as speaks English?" 
sez I ; " don't yer think there's some mistake ?" 

" O yes, sare," he sez, " I spik English vare well — I 
was stewed on a English steam bote tree year — dam." 



62 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" What have yer got to eat ?" sez I. I was starving 
gentle reader, and had no other means to seek my food. 

"We have of the poisons/' he sez, "little fishes, 
and of the rots, rosbif. We have all tings English, de 
soap and de bittre beer, and de bifteck and de all-fives ; 
O, yes, I play very well ; and also of the mutton chops 
—dam." 

" Have you got a sound evangelical preacher, young 
men?" sez I, thinkin' to bring him to a sense of perpiety 
by a gentle hint. 

" No, sare," he sez, arter lookin' puzzled for a 
moment ; "we have had one very fine, but a English 
milord has eat him with little pease on Vensday mornin\" 

I don't mind confessin' it, at this point I kind o' 
give in. So I leaned back in my chair, and sez I, u Jest 
bring us anythink you like, for I can see you won't bear 
contradiction ;" and with that he walzed off like a may- 
fly, and in a little time had the cloth on and a decanter 
full of beer a-standin' in the middle of the tabel. The 
fust course was called soup. Well, who's a-goin' to 
say it wasn't ? Let us sumtimes take things for granted 
in this onbelievin' world ; and by-and-by come the roast 
beef. What a firm, onyieldin' frame of mind the animal 
it was cut from must have had, to be sure, for it was a 
beast as scorned to melt or to be tender, though it had 
bin roasted well-nigh to a cinder before the fire j but 
there it laid, with its cracklin' upwards (it was kivered 
with cracklin'), and suffered, and was cut in silense, 
without so much as sheddin' a single tear. I couldn't 
help thinkin' as I sit there tryin' to eat how well these 
people onderstands the ekwality of the sexes. In our 
wretched country cow is seldom admitted to tabel ; here 
she is jest as often seen there as her husband. The 
consequence was that arter I'd bin chewin' a long time 
in vain I got ashamed of tryin' to win a victory over a 
poor weak female, and I told the feller to take her away. 
The next moment he skated back with some veal and 
pickels, which directly I tasted I knew what became of 



CALAIS. 63 

the old immortells ; arter settin' that down he went out 
to a kind of highland fling step, narrerly missin' scratchin' 
the lookin'-glarse with the spike of his rnustarcher. 

We was delited to get rid on him, and as dinner was 
over we pulled our chairs up to the winder and looked 
out into the square. It was filled with people who was 
returnin from their promenade upon the peer — strings 
of fish wimmen, in their clean white nitecaps and their 
everlastin' black, looking like old Egyptians with their 
brown faces and great gold earrings and the rows of 
rings upon their fingers ; and strings agin of little dress- 
makers and sich-like, their heads unkivered too, pretty 
dears, as plump as flower-bags, and walkin' quite 
demure with their eyes upon the ground. Then comes 
the tradesmen's darters and the upper sort, wearin' 
bonnits, and dressed neat and quiet, and lookin' for all 
the world like English gals, if it warn't for their black 
eyes and nut-brown cheeks. Mostly speakin', all the 
gals keeps kumpany together, and all the young men 
walks by themselves too. You don't see anythink like 
the number o' youngsters and their sweethearts out a- 
walkin' wich you see in England on a Sunday arter- 
noon. For whybekos they don't walk much together 
unless they're a-goin' to be married, and there is no 
chance of shilly, shallyin' about with half a dozen, and 
finishin' off by havin' none. The young men seems 
happy enufFin one another's kumpany, for they're chat- 
terin' away, each one dashin' in before the other finishes, 
in case he should be cheated of his turn. 

If anybody tells yer that Frenchmen as a rool is thin 
and little, call 'em some ugly name. Most on 'em is 
awful fat and jolly, and a good few is as tall as any man 
we've got among us. There was jest as many different 
sorts o' them as of the gals — great hulkin' labourers 
from the ships in bloo blouses very neat and clean, and 
fine made orfisers with stays on and their faces shaved 
till they looks the very immidge of the Emperor, which 
seems to have stamped hisself in all the army, for I 



64 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

never see a face that warn't the very murral of his'n ; 
and dapper swells, which is no excepshun to the rool, 
bein' dimmidaw and thin and weak kneed all over the 
world. A country swell is alius a terrible creetur ; he's 
a sort of hart de visit of a man, with everything that's 
comick about the city swell done three times three, and 
these Kally swells was terrible to the last degree. Their 
hats went towerin' to the skies like the tree wich the 
feller asks the woodman to be sparin' of in the song, 
and their kollars couldn't be less than a kupple of inches 
deep. They was of a priestly cut, for they held their 
little wearers' heads up, and forced 'em to gaze upon a 
better world. As for their patent leather boots, there 
never was sich seemless neat and shiny things, and 
there never was sich dandy little cutaway sportin' coats, 
or sich dapper little legs, which must be made of good 
material or they'd splinter under their own wate, or sich 
a harmless, hawty gingerbeer and gunpowder kind o' 
look as they put upon their innersent little faces. 
Blessins on the swell ! I have alius luved him every- 
where, as I luv spiled children and pop-guns and snap- 
dragon and angry wimen, and everything else as looks 
bloodthirsty and doesn't hurt. 

Well, they all marched about, bowin' to one another 
and lightin' cigarettes, and chatterin' till their talk 
hummed like the wind, and I was wonderin' what sort 
of people had been marchin' up and down there in days 
gone by, when suddintly the clock begun to strike, and 
lookin' up I see a kupple of little Aggers mounted on 
horseback in a nick above the face, and every time the 
hour bell sounded they rushed together and give one 
another a ugly prog with their spears. They seemed 
to spend the rest of the hour in wranglin' about their 
grievances, and to get in a huff together and fall to blows 
as soon as the clock was on the strike. Arter givin' 
one another five very deliberit progs they left off fightin' 
and resumed the argyment ; but when six o'clock come 
round they fell to it agin, and counted six on one 



CALAIS. 65 

another's ribs. This sort o' game has bin goin' on for 
considerable more than a hundred years, and they've 
been prog, prog, proggin' all the time, not havin' the 
sense to leave off in the nitetime, when nobody can see 
'em, but tusslin' through eclipses and the fiercest fogs 
like Paddy for the love of sport. 

In the evenin' we took a walk about the town, wich 
is one of the best defendid places I ever see, You meets 
three people and then a soleder, and three more and 
then another soleder, and so on everywhere ; then yer 
tumbles on a guard-house full on em, lollin' up and 
down as if they was dyin' for the want o' sumbody to 
stab. Sumtimes they are desperately garding nothink, 
and lookin' as if they'd die before they'd let it parse out 
of their hands ; at other times they've got as much as a 
pair of pavin' stones to look arter ; and once I actilly 
see a kupple on 'em posted in front of a real dore. 
The dore looked as well as could be expected, but the 
soleders showed signs of bein' overworked. 

Arter that we went to bed feelin' secure. 

The next morning I was woke up with a terrible caw, 
caw, cawing, and on looking out of the winder I see 
the half-mad kreetur that waited on us yesterday divin' 
into a kind of hen-coop among a lot of chickens, which 
kep kickin' up a most terrible noise. Direckly he see 
me he sets up a loud shout, and begins a-talkin' his 
abominable English to a bird he had just fished out of 
the coop. " Ah, traitor ; from what cause you kick ? 
Mis errrr able ! I cut you the throat in kalmness. I 
boil you in spite of your sulk." But while he was 
flourishin' his knife and talkin', the chikken wriggled 
herself loose and begun scamperin' round the yard. 
With that the idiot gives a look up at my winder, and 
singing out "Volla, mon ammy — I chase him — you 
shall see," bolted arter the unlucky bird. It was a kind 
of steeplechase. Every time he got up with the chikken 
the critter got clear of him by hoppin' over his arm or 
his knife. The wimmen left off workin' in the kitching 

F 



66 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

to come and look, and some pussons from the coffee- 
room crowded likewise to their dore, and roared out 
with delite at every double. At larst he brought his 
victim to earth near the sand-basket, and then he held 
him up in triump before me, and begun a caperin' about 
like any child. I never see such chikking-killing in my 
life. 

I have got a few more things to say about these 
people, but I must put 'em off until my next. They 
make a great cry in conversation, but they do not alius 
give yew a kwantity of wool. They have a grate flow 
of idees. I heerd five conversin' all at once for three- 
quarters of an hour the other day. They used their 
hands and curled their eyebrows, and made a great 
grimace, and when they'd finished I found out as their 
talk was about fly-papers — nothin' more. Their lan- 
gwidge is very difficult, as I told yer ; but I've larnt a 
few words aready, wich I put 'em down for the benefit 
of intending travellers : — 

Savoy vous P Do yer twig ? 

Les quatre saisons. The quarter sessions. 

Pate Imperial. Imperial pie. 

Un homme de lettres. A postman. 

Par la sainte pokare. By the holy poker. 

So no more at presint, as we're a-goin' to the theater. 



BOULOGNE. 67 



BOULOGNE. 

MpHE chief buty in France is that everything's dun in 
■*■ a strait line. Direckly you land from the bote 
yer luggij is annexed by one of the straitest of porters, 
who walks with, it in a strait line down one of the 
straitest of piers. From there yew get into a strait 
street with sharp corners to it, as would shave yer if yer 
leant your cheek agin 'em, which leads yer to a very 
uprite house, with a strait old porter at the gate. If 
yew take a walk into the country yew don't escape it. 
The road stretches away in one finely-developed line, 
right into the clouds, and courtin' must be imposserble 
in the lanes, which branches out on the right and left 
like stiff-jinted fingers, pintnV to the same happy home. 
The trees is all brought up from infancy to toe the line, 
and the pertaters grows in close collum, with their eyes 
to the right. If a feller klimes a greasy pole at a fair, 
instid of havin' a vision of a honest loin of pork upon 
the summit to cheer him on his way, he sees nothin' but 
a little bag, in vich little bag there is a ticket, with vich 
ticket he must walk strait off to sumbody, who sends 
him to sumbody else, who gits him to sign a book 
stating that he has bin faithfully vaccinated, and then 
he gets the pork. Bathing's jist the same. Yew stands 
in reg'lar order and gits yer tickets fust ; then yew walk 
down to a row of little Gothik churches side by side 
upon the beach. Yew enters one o' these sacred 
buildins, and changes yer plain homely togs for sum 
fluted garments, which makes yer look a kind o' mixter 
between a tumbler and the fisherman o' Naples. While 
doin' so yew read this simple, cussed simple, yet touchin' 
inscription, on the walls : — "S. Blubb, London, Haugust, 



68 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

1864." You emerje, and find the fair destroyer of yer 
domestick bliss waitin' for yer inside a Bloomer soot of 
coloured flannil ; yew lead her down amidst a crowd of 
brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, into the waves ; yew 
swim, yew dive, yew float, yew do the Maltese side- 
stroke, and exchange jeu de sprees and bitin' sarcasms 
with the merry crew around ; and when yew both feel 
properly sufferkated yew return to church agin, and 
resoom the snuff-kullered garb of ordinary life. 

Of course, I'm not goin' to say as this is anyways to 
be compared to our English system. " Freedom fust, 
public merrality arterwards" — as the mouse said when 
he was committed for stealin' the cheese. 

The greatest thing in Bullong at the present time is 
the Exhibition of Peck; and thinkin' it meant sumthing 
in the way of pastry, for wich these people is very 
famous, we went to see it. It turned out, however, 
that "Peck" means fishery, wich is anuther instance of 
the tumble-down, careless way in wich their langwidge 
is constructed. On enterin' the hall the fust thing we 
run up aginst was a macheen for makin' nets -, one of 
the simplest and most butiful contrivunces I ever with 
my i beheld. Fust, there's a set o' wheels with string 
on 'em, and then there's a set of hooks. Fix yer gaze 
upon them hooks, for everything depends on 'em. 
Then there's a double row o' bodkins, closely followed 
by a set o' reels, and another regiment of hooks and 
wheels. All bein' reddy, a feller flies to the side and 
begins turnin' a handle like a orgin, and instantly the 
bodkins begin a dancin', the wheels flies round till 
they're stopped in their mad career by the fust set of 
hooks, which carried the thread over the fust bodkin, 
where it's caught by the second hook, which winds it 
round the third reel, who hands it to every one of the 
bodkins as feels strong enough on his legs to take it. 
This constitoots the fust stitch. The feller then leaves 
off, and wipes his for rid, arter which he resooms his 
manglin', and the net is made. On readin' this descrip- 



BOULOGNE. 69 

shun to Elizurbeth I found her untootered mind refused 
to grasp it, and she pernounced it foggy, whereas to 
me it seems the simplest akkount in the world of the 
way of tyin' a bit of string in a knot. This is only one 
speciment of the difficulties I'm kontinually havin' with 
my wife. She is not fit to travel, for the horizon t of 
her idees is narrer, owin' to old Chigley, her father, 
havin' mewed her up in his natif coal-shed instid of 
makin' her an akkomplished woman of the world. She 
thinks brandy in kauphy is sinful, but she doesn't objeck 
to alkyol in her tea; and she can never be got to 
rekognise the subdued buty of tears in the mail sex, 
bekos in her own country them amusements is strictly 
reserved for pussons of the femail persuasion. I am 
doin' the best I can with her, but it is a hard fite. The 
next thing we see at the Exhibition was some amiable 
indoocements in the way of hooks for persuadin' sharks 
to come on board and have a interview with the 
capting. Then there was a 24-inch winged harpoon 
with a ketch in it, sumthing between a solderin' tool 
and a rat-trap, which is used for whales. Then there 
was some little salmon in a bottle who was hatched 
from eggs kept sixty days in ice, their brothers bein' 
now in Australy-, arter which came an ingenious Scotch 
macheen for ketchin' fish by gettin' 'em to walk into a 
little galvanised trap with the door open, which shuts 
directly they get inside, whereupon Mr. Sawney, who's 
bin a whistlin' on the bank, lugs it up, and pretends 
he's quite surprised to see 'em, and takes 'em home to 
be fried. I tell yer, when I think of the varus dodges 
played with fishes I feel ashamed to look a herrin' in 
the face, and especially when yew consider the innocent, 
foolish way in which they all trot in thousands round 
the world, jest calling at the very places where the 
people are waitin' to ketch 'em. 

"What's * Hammecks for the poisons of the Mare/ 
Josef ?" sez Elizurbeth, stopping before a plakkard. 

" Fish-hooks, my love," sez I — "fish-hooks." 



70 MR. SF ROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" It's a terrible roundabout way of getting at it," sez 
she, pore soul. 

Another of her ignorant remarks was when we 
stopped in front of a busty of Savage, who fust invented 
the skrew for navigation. 

" Ah," sez she, " I suppose that's the portrit of the 
feller as purvides the cold lunches on board the Margit 
bote ; and a pretty skrew it is — one and sixpence — and 
the sea a rollin' to that degree that the ham and 
chikking goes a walzin' all oyer the tabel, and before 
you've got a fair cut at any think it's 'All hands on 
deck.' " 

" The screw, my dear," sez I, " is a sientifick impli- 
ment, by means of which we wriggles through the 
water." 

" It may wriggle for ever before it wriggles anymore 
money out of my portfolio, Sprouts," sez she. 

I sed no more, but stopped in front of a Greenlander 
sittin' in full fishin' costoom in his canoo. He was 
clothed in skins, and wore kid gloves ; also he carried 
a spear and a toothpick. Teeth must grow rapid in 
them regions, for he had lost enuff on 'em to make a 
belt of, that went right round his waist. His soup- 
ladle was the biggest I ever see — it beat Elko's snufF- 
spoon — (Bow the knee, proud Scot; thou art defeated!) 
— and he had a Irish flannel-weskit made out of the 
skins of birds. 

Do you know Monsieur Adonis Tessier Gournay, 
Maitre Bottier de la Marine ? He's a bootmaker, but 
there must be a hevvy responsibility restin' on his god- 
fathers and godmothers. 

But the nicest part of the Exhibition is the aquarium, 
wich is in another part of the town up by the peer. A 
aquarium is a place for keepin' fishes before they're 
salted, and this is considered to be one of the best in 
France. It is built up like a rock outside, and inside 
the idee is that you've stepped down into one of the 
caverns of the sea and are lookin' at the fishes without 



BOULOGNE. 71 

gettin' drownded, which you can mannij to do through 
the water bein , kep' away from yer by thick plate-glass 
all round. The light falls so peculiar that though you 
can perseeve the fishes they can't twig yew, and so yew 
quite drop on 'em by surprise. The fust thing I see 
was four winkles at tea with a crawfish, and from the 
manner in which they wagged their heads durin' con- 
versashun it was quite clear that their habit of stayin' 
inside their houses when you purchase them at Graves- 
end is mere obstinacy. I had scarcely turned from this 
pleasin' scene when I beheld a big gudjin lyin' in wait 
for a little 'un behind a sponge. The expression of his 
feturs was trooly diabolikal as his guileless viktim 
approached. With that keen sense of perpiety which 
belongs to her sect, Betsy next kalled my attention to 
the behaviour of a wild young crab, who was winkin' 
wickedly at a crabbess, without perceivin' that the old 
mother, who was takin' a morsel of sea-weed m a 
corner, was jealusly lookin' arter her daughter. The 
"thing as seems most remarkable to me is the steadiness 
of fish. They never larf; yew see 'em goin' along 
openin' of their mouths, but I've been given to under- 
stand as that's swearin'. I see a little sprat feller doin' 
this at a krab for full ten minnits, till the krab got in a 
passion and annexed him. It was a affectin' site, but 
there couldn't be no other vardict than " Sarve him 
rite." The remainin' tabloos consisted of the follerin' : 
— Sum winkles out of barricks, a eel drunk and dis- 
orderly, a star-fish goin' to bed, a quart of mussels 
meetin' to overthrow their constitootion (meer demmy- 
crats), the largest jelly-fish in the world throwin' slime 
upon 'em, and sum lobsters refusin' to fire. 

The French nation is divided into two great classes — 
waiters and other fellers. If a feller isn't one of the 
other fellers, he's a waiter, and vicey-versey ; but one or 
the other he's sure to be. I never see sich rijments of 
waiters as meets yer at every turn, dustin' nothin' from 
the kafe tables, lollin' at the dores, and sittin' at the 



72 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

marble counters readin' of the noose. It's the only 
other grate path to honners open for a young feller 
besides the army, and they change about from one to 
t'other — fust a soldier, then a waiter, then when times 
is hard a soldier again — with butiful confusion. From 
this comes the sayin', so often kwoted, that every French 
soldier is born with a silver spoon in his napsack — the 
meanin' of it bein' that he's sure to be either one or 
t'other. Sum people is neither, but these remarks don't 
apply to them. It would be a distressin' thing if there 
was so many waiters without their havin' anythink to 
do ; so a large number of patriotick Frenchmen go 
round to the restorers and eats a purpose to employ 
'em. This must not be konfounded with gluttony. 
When a man eats a purpos to revel in the fierce pleasure 
o' rinding hisself a stone heavier than when he weighed 
last, that's gluttony ; but when he eats simply to keep 
the waiter out o' mischief that's patriutism ; and in this 
sense the French is the most patriotick nation alive. 
Providence smiles on sich a man's efforts to sarve his 
kind, and its smile makes him fat, wich is generally the 
sign of a patriot in these parts. I saw one of these 
self-denyin' Romans come into a place one mornin', and 
begin on bread and butter and radishes, arter which he 
flirted a bit with a kold foul, then hid a pair of little 
fishes, then remonstrated with a beefsteak, then triumfed 
over something between a jam tart and a mutton chop, 
and finished up with severil sorts of vegetables and half 
a pound of grapes and a peach and a kup of kauphy. 
Arter havin' come this he folded his hands with a look 
as if he had endured enuff for humanity this journey, 
and went off for a walk to get a appetite for his dinner. 
I shall never forgit the fust time I ordered beefsteak 
here. Betsy and me had bin wanderin' along the see- 
shore gatherin' shells and sich like, and listenin' to the 
music of the deep, when suddintly she asked me if I 
could tell her what the wild waves was sayin', and I 
arnsered " Steaks." She blushingly replide that she 



BOULOGNE. 73 

thought that was what we was sufferin' from, so we 
went off to a restorer's and ordered 'em to cook a pair 
"toot sweet," wich is as much as to say " immejutly," 
or " like a bird." The feller jumped about as if he 
had been accidentally put on the gridiron hisself, and 
finally floo off like a ball from a popgun to git the 
stakes. There was a great quantity of dish-kovers on 
the table, also several rows of knives and forks, and a 
fine plantation of decanters, and when arter waitin' 
nearly half a hour we see the feller hisself comin' in full 
steam with the steaks in tow we felt that strange thrill 
of pleasure which people does when they knows they've 
desarved well of their country and their country's goin' 
to pay 'em. The youth come in grinnin' (they allers 
does), and arter bangin' the dishes down he whips the 
kivers off, and with a " Volla, Monseer," which means 
" Behold !" and there was two wretchid little things 
about the size of pickled walnuts a hidin' of their heads 
amongst a forest of little taters cut in strips — meer 
samples of what a stake ought for to be. 

French people has a great idee of the exentricity of 
the English, kindly believin' us all to be mad, and 
lookin' on all our doins with the greatest indulgence ; 
wheieas, if yew bring a keen optick to bear upon it, 
you'll see as the madness is all on their side, and we're 
about one of the most naterel and sensible people in the 
world. There is alius a story about of a exentrik 
Englishman in their noosepapers, jest as there's one of a 
monster gooseberry in ourn ; and they're all ekwally 
troo. I have grate pleasure in addin' one to the list, 
wich I can vouch for, as it were under my own pussonal 
notis durin' a walk which I took in the country on the 
road from Kallis to Dunkirk. The road between these 
places is very straight and tedius, and is lined with tele- 
graff-posts all the way, a distance of thirty miles. Well, 
two of our enormusly wealthy countrymen — Lord A. 
and the Markis of B. — has made a match to run a race 
along this road for 40,000/., each man klimbin' to the 



74 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS 

top of every telegraff-post he comes to, leavin' a five- 
pound note there and ringin of a little bell with his 
teeth. They're to keep at it nite and day without food, 
but on arrivin' at the winnin'-post the konqueror is to 
consoom a leg of mutton, which will be waitin for him 
reddy cooked, without arskin' any questions. I over- 
took 'em larst fortnite when I went out for a walk. 
The Markis was two posts ahead, but he was blowin', 
and it was thought that his lordship stood the best 
charnce, as the other one sez his stummick gits out of 
order when he goes without food for more than three 
weeks at a time. I shall send a full akkount on the 
termination of the match. 



PARIS.— A WORKMAN'S BALL. 

A T last I am in Parry, beautiful Parry, the pride of 
-^ the world. I have seen the Bully varts, the Shamps 
Elysians, the Rue of Revelry, the roly-poly Kollum of 
Napoleon, the Loovry, the Luxemburg. I have climbed 
up the Ark of Triump. I have dabbled in the Sane. 
I have not yet called on the English ambassydur, or 
any of the Ministers of State, bekos I am by natur' a 
vagrant, and I like 'umble people and their doins better 
than all the noise, and glitter, and varnish in the world. 
I hate a fuss — I hate posture-makin'. I hate anythink 
as comes between me and another feller when I want 
to have a chat with him and take a pipe on the broad 
footin' of our bein' feller-worms, and since I've bin in 
high sersiety I've found this postur'-making constant. 
It ain't a man and woman as you goes to dinner with 
in Belgriv-skware, but a pair of marionets dressed 
respectif in a tail-coat and a crinerleen — which talks in 
a high-dried, snuffy way about harts and sciences, and 
luv and marridge, till the very mention of 'em tickles 
the throat like Scotch rappee, and it seems as if the 



PARIS.— A WORKMAN'S BALL. 75 

world had got too near the sun by accident, and had all 
the gravy baked out of it like a overdun pie. My 
literairy brethren drops into this style occasional too, 
and dresses up in buckram to hide the original green- 
ness of their natur', wich is the more unluvly considerin' 
as this greenness is about the Wliest thing about 'em, 
and it's their bizniss to restore that rapidly-fadin' culler 
to the world. Lord, when I hear talk of grand doin's 
here and there — artistick konversazioneys, in which 
there's everythink but hart and buty — and fashionable 
weddins, where there's everythink but luv, I cry out 
for a penn'orth of salt to salt these high-soundin' morsels 
with, and give 'em flavour, so as they may be made fit 
to set upon plain deal tables for the food of 'umble men ; 
and I think of the gloreus doins of my own old vagrant 
time, when I tramped about from fair to fair, and 
pitched my tent among the children of the sile. Them 
was the conversazioneys, when the wimmen met at 
tee-time and pegged away at honist herrins, and talked 
of what they onder stood ; and them the weddings, 
when you married the gal on Monday mornin' and 
never left off feast and revelry till Saturday nite. I've 
seen enufFof fashionable doins upon the other side, " so 
take me," sez I, "to sum quiet little humble plase, 
where I can see the workmen a enjoyin' of theirselves," 
and they took me to a Workman's Ball at the Barrier. 
I left my wife at home ; for why ? — because she said 
she didn't care to go — bekos she has set her hart on 
tearin' me away from old associations — bekos she is 
alius tryin' to make me fashionabl' in spite of myself, 
and to dress me up in tail-kotes and shiny oilskin boots, 
when I longs, like an imprisoned songster, for the knee- 
shorts and the ancle-jacks of the sweet old woodland 
life. Besides, she had the influenzy. 

We started from our cage in the evening, and took a 
kind of open vehaycle like a London kab with the top 
blown off, which is called a vulture de place. Why it 
should be called a vulture I cannot say, except in 



76 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

alloosion to the habits of the driver, who alius pecks 
yer when he can git a charnce. There was four on us. 
Fust there was a virtuous peasant, who had come here 
from the wilds of Brighton a purpus to see life, and 
who had begun by gettin' his hair cropped close and 
callin' his countrymen " these islanders." Then there 
was a delikit young English swell, whose garmints put 
me in mind of wanderin' sheep, bein' without a fold, 
though, with this exception, he was quite a huming 
being, and as fond of fun and frolick as any one could 
be. Then there was a jovial party with a twinklin' eye, 
dressed in a weskit, who was alius dyin' to promote the 
ontong cordal by conversin' in French ; and larst, there 
was me, as interpreter and general moralist to the party. 
The struckture into which we had skrambled was 
a sort of bird's-nest on wheels, and the hoss as dragged 
it was fluted at the sides, and had had all his columns 
broken in the course of a long struggle with the elemints 
and Time. He was none of your flighty, vain hosses, 
but a fine silver-haired old fellow, that had seen enufF 
of life to know the vanity of display ; and direckly he felt 
us behind him he started off at a respectable pace that 
was meant to larst, and mite ha' bin kep up without 
fatigue till the coming of the next comet. His driver 
had puffeck confidence in him, and let the rains drop 
loose on the old feller's back, while he entered into 
a animated conversation with me on the tips of his 
fingers. Gradually we left the lites of the Boolevarts 
far behind and got out into long dark streets without a 
turning with here and there a caffy, and here and there 
a soleder, and everywhere rows of trees. By-and-by we 
heard the sounds of musick and see sum lites, and soon 
arter we pulled up at the dore of a little wine-shop, and 
popped out of our nest, warmly congratulatin' one 
another on our mirakulus preservation, and givin' orders 
to the coachman to wait for us below. 

The little counter of the wine-shop had two bottles 
on it, filled with pure water, which, being valyable 



PARIS— A WORKMAN'S BALL 77 

property, was well guarded by a kupple of guards, 
posted each on 'em near a bottle with a large saber 
by his side. It was pleasin' to see that should these 
gallant fellers be overpowered there was others within 
call, as we kaught site of several millintery tail-kotes 
at the top of the stairs, where the ball-room was. We 
was percedin' up there in grate state when we was 
kalled back and guv to understand that the price of 
admission was four sues, to be laid out in refreshment ; 
so we ordered sum Barrier beer, great numbers of which 
is sold in these parts, and which is made in the follerin' 
manner, pecooliarly sooted to the wants of a climit where 
there is sumtimes a scarcity of malt and 'ops : — Take 
equal parts of tabel beer and cold tea, and chop them up 
fine with any other artikle of food that is waitin' to be 
disposed of ; then put them in a copper and let them 
simmer at discretion, add a little veal stuffin for flavur, 
and when cool sprinkle with vinegar and salt accordin' 
to pallit. This Barrier beer the virtuous peasant fell 
foul of, but refused to pertake of it for fear of forfeitin' 
his policy of assurance ; I drank it off at a draft, for 
mine is agin all forms of accidental deth. While we 
was thus engaged one of the guards cast sich a terrible 
envious look on the beer-can that I arsked him if he 
would take a glarse, which as soon as he see it his eye 
sparkled with the purest pleasure and he began to talk. 
Out of compliment to us, he chuz English, wich he 
would have spoken better if he had knowed more of it. 
All he could say at first was " Chiny," " Shangey," and 
" Sir Hope Grant" — three words which is pleasin' enufF 
to the year, but is hardly able to express all the emotions 
of the sole. Findin' him very full of information, I 
requested to have his kumpany upstairs, wich he politely 
guv, and we went into the ball-room in the follering 
order : — Sprouts and the Gard de Parry — the virtuous 
peasant — the young swell and the man with the twinklin' 
eye. On gettin' into the room, we found that one of 
the darnces was jest bein' finished. It was a large place, 



78 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

painted chokelit culler, and lit with two little gas jets 
about the size of farthin' dips ; up abuv there was a 
little nest hangin' agin the wall in which sit the musi- 
cianers lookin' as lively as a pair of canaries waitin' on 
the top shelf of a birdfaneier's to be sold. The one 
who performed on the bas-phial was a gal — round- 
cheeked, rosy, and thoughtless, who scraped a bit when 
she had a mind, and when she got tired she turned 
round to the lookin'-glarse, and did her hair up with all 
the wilfulness and impetuosity of her sect. From the 
likeness between their noses I koncluded that the fiddler 
was her father. He was very fat, but he was not like 
most fat men — careless. On the contrairy, he fiddled 
as if he had a difficulty in payin' his rent, and he 
twitched up all the muskels of his face at the high 
notes, as if it gave him pain to listen to the agony of 
his fiddle. The trumpeter was like all other trumpeters 
— he had a off-hand, indiferent way about him as if it 
was tuppence to a penny whether he should blow at 
all ; but when he did jine in it was good-bye to all 
other sounds until he'd finished tootlin' and resoomed 
his brandy and water. The people sittin' round was 
chiefly men and wimmen and children. The men was 
dressed in bloo blouses and had that long-sufFerin' look 
which comes from shavin' off the whiskers and seldom 
washin' the face, and the wimmen was mostly red- 
cheeked dears in nitecaps who had long since abandoned 
the idee of waists. As they all set there, drinkin' of 
their German mystery and all talkin' at the same time 
on the French prinserple of the loudest bein' heerd the 
best, there was a little figger darncin' in and out among 
'em sich as I have seldum seen the deuplicate of in all 
my travils. He was the master of the ceremoneys, and 
he was dressed in a bloo blouse like the rest, but the 
haughty twist of his eagle nose, the glitter of his little 
optick, and the spike of his mustarcher made him look 
more terrible than the villain who imprisons the princess 
in the pantymine and is arterwards burnt out with slow 



PARIS.— A WORKMAN'S BALL. 79 

pisin swallered by mistake. Presently he clapped his 
hands and sung out " Waltz ; " the fiddles begun 
screamin', the worn-out, listliss-lookin' workmen jumped 
up from their benchis, the young wimmen riz and left 
their children to the care of the old 'uns, the gards 
drew back near the dore, and off the whole lot started 
in the wildest darnce of demons ever seen on this side 
of Parrydise. The moosik seemed to act on 'em like 
brandy. Hevvy workmen, wich but a minute ago had 
bin lyin' on the benches wore out with a hard day's toil, 
kut the air like vultures at the site of doves, and the 
buxom wimmen skimmed along till it seemed as if the 
Channel Fleet was movin' in a circle round yer under 
every inch of sail. They bumped one another, they 
larfed, they cried out until the sparkle of their eyes set 
fire to the feelins of the fiddler, and he got as excited 
as theirselves, and fiddled as lively as the organist arter 
the fifteenth glarse of whisky at a wake. All this time 
the little ceremoney feller was dartin' in and out among 
'em with his hands out and his hair on end, chatterin' 
and stampin' with passion and pleshure by turns ; and 
the men and wimmen on the benchis clapped their 
hands for joy, and urged 'em on, The only silent 
beins was ourselves, the three grim solejers, and the 
old women croonin' over the babies and rubbin' their 
yaller cheeks agin the youngsters' noses, as if they was 
hungerin' for the fire there to warm the blood in their 
own cold vains. As for me, I sit silent, watchin' a 
young girl who was darncin* with a injine driver on the 
railway, who chuz this way of coolin' himself after the 
baking of the day. I have never seen sich good darncin' 
at any of the fashionable hops in our natif land. The 
gal seemed to give her mind to it, as sum people give 
their mind to buildin' churches. Her klean white Nor- 
mindy cap, her healthy face, her trim feet glid round in 
continyal circles, all the cullers runnin' into one another 
like the paint stripes on a patent top. 'Appy ingineer — 
would I could hop so gracefully as thou ! But sawft ; 



80 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

the musick ceases, the little ceremoney demon runs round 
to collect the pennies wich every one as darnces has to 
pay, and the darncers sit down at the tables to drink the 
aforesaid beer, black kauphy, some stuff called absinth, 
and little thimbles full of O D V ('ow dredful varm), 
brought in by a dumpy little waitress who seemed to 
have bin tryin' to improov her complexion with a den- 
trifis made of coals. 

When the darnce was over, our party entered into 
frendly conversashun with the solejer on the basis of 
the thumb and fingur alfabet, with repeatin' signals on 
the ribs, assisted by the huming voise. I akted as 
interpreter, and accordin' as the digs was hard or sawft, 
I pernounced 'em to mean joy, hope, despair, infection, 
and the various passions of the sole. Some of the 
solejer's stupid arnsers to straightforrard, simple ques- 
tions did not give me a high idee of the intelleck of the 
French people. The fust question put was by the man 
with the twinkling eye, who sez, " How do yer like 
the English people ?" sez he plain enuff, and waited for 
a arnser. 

" O yes ; varey roast bif," sez the idiet, wich seemed 
to me so unmeanin' that I said it loud in his year to 
make it clearer to 'im, " 'Ow — do — you — like — the — 
English — people ?" decompanyin' each word with a 
throb on his weskit. 

His answer to this was simply " Bool dawg," which 
put me in sich a everlastin' quandary that I didn't know 
what to do with him for the life on me. 

" Try it in French, Mr. Sprouts," sez the virtuous 
peasant. 

" Well, then," sez I, makin' a larst effort, " my frend 
desirey to know kelk chose — that is, how you aimey the 
English peple ?" 

To this his reply was, " Several ;" so I abandoned 
the idee of tryin' to converse with him on sientifick 
subjecks, and shifted the konversashun to the dooties of 
his own puifession. 



PARIS.— A WORKMAN'S BALL. 81 

" Are yew much trubbled with " cly fakers" in these 
parts ?" sez I. 

He must have bin a very queer perleeseman, for this 
question seemed to puzzle him more than any of the 
rest ; so, concludin' he was only put there to prevent 
the German beer from accumulate in the establishment, 
I supplide him with sum more of that mixter, and left 
him to hisself. 

Nothin' would sarve one of my English friends but I 
must partaik of the pleasures of the next darnce along 
with him, which was a kwadrille ; so, havin obtained 
pardners through the little major domy, we stood up. 
It is called Parishians, and yew stand in two lines, and 
arter bowin' to the four corners of the univarse, yer 
begin to %ger away. I have seen it dun in England, 
but there it is a grave affair, much like the Dead March 
in " Saul," but no sooner did these men git fairly off, 
than I began to find the meanin' of supplyin' 'em with 
German beer. The agony of mind caused by swallerin' 
this poison is so excruciatin' that the viktim, instid of 
darncin', bounds into the air and performs endless 
flourishes before he touches earth agin. The poor swell 
was walkin' out very stately — countin' one, two, three, 
and doin' a graceful little step, when he was toppled 
over like a skittle, and I only eskaped his fate by givin' 
a teetotum, who was revolvin' near me, a knock which 
sent him buzzin' off into the center of the ring. Con- 
versashun with yer pardner was impossible. When 
yew looked round to find her, she was bein' whirled 
round by somebody on the opperzite side, and before 
yew knew where yew was, yew was doublin' about in 
the form of a rigger of eight in the same direckshun. 
Finding my few remainin' sensis rapidly goin', and a 
confusion of arithmetikal Aggers, bloo blouses, white 
kaps, and excited trumpeters whirlin' before my eyes, I 
drew off to one of the benches, and our coachman, who 
had come upstairs to see the fun, took my place. The 
cab-driver and the ingine-driver was thus opperzite to 

G 



82 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

one another, and it was steam agin horseflesh on the 
prinserple of competitif examination. The horror I 
experienced in seem' a cabman darncin' in a kwadrill 
was too much for my narves and the narves of them 
about me, and the onairthly musik was no sooner finished 
than we called the man out, got into the vehaycle agin, 
and was whirled back to our 'otel. This is what they 
call a Workman's Ball. 



PARIS.— A FRENCH FETE. 

T HAVEN'T seen a noosepaper since I left my natif 
-*- shore. What a wonderful lull there is in the 
perlitekal atmosfeer ! I wonder what Ben's a doin' of. 
Where's Epsom ? How's Roebuck ? I hope somebody 
gives him a bit of dinner now and then, and incur ridges 
him to speak his mind. It cures em much sooner than 
the old straw-and-strait-weskit system. " I don't care 
who makes the laws for a people if they'll only let me 
make the speeches, Mr. Sprouts," he sez, the very larst 
time I see him — pore feller. 

If anybody asks how I'm a gettin' on, tell 'em I'm 
friskin' about like a sunbeam out o' school ; my life is 
one continyel round of balls, concerts, opperies, " petty 
soupirs," and indigestion. I am well received by sum 
of the best sersiety in the Bollyvarts, on payment of a 
frank for a kup of kauphy. I see most of the leadin' 
exhibitions on the same tarms, and I have only jest 
returned with Betsy from a feat at St. Cloud. 

This feat havin' bin advertised all over the city as a 
thing worth seein', we went to see it, though I have 
very little belief in feats, preferring the kwiet domestick 
pleasures of my own fireside to all the feating and 
galivantin' in the world. 

A French railway station is a very orderly place. 



PARIS.— A FRENCH FETE. 83 

The pay-orfis door is opened some time before the 
startin' of the train, which does away with the fine old 
system of a free elbow fite for tickets as it exists in our 
natif land ; and directly yew have taken your tickets 
yew are marshalled into different little pens, where 
yew wait till they are reddy to take you. The pen 
dore is then opened, and yew walk into the train, and 
are hurled off to your destination. While we was 
a waitin' in our pen a ugly feller in a bloo blouse kep 
comin' to the dore and peepin' in upon us as if to make 
sure nobody hadn't run away. Betsy said she felt like 
a lam bein ; led to the slaughter, and I must say I 
couldn't help havin' strange recollections of the Metro- 
politan Market myself ; but I larfed it off, and by the 
time we got out upon the line and see the white houses 
and green shrubberies of Parry a glistenin' in the veil 
below she was the gayest of the gay. 

This railway seems to be on a high level, for, when 
we delighted at St. Cloud, we had to walk down one 
hill arter anuther for a long time afore we see any signs 
of the feat. Things was so qwiet that I was beginnin' 
to fear that we had come by accident to the wrong 
place, when we stumbled on a rural kaffy, with a regi- 
ment of tables standin' outside of it, and anuther 
regiment of waiters a standin' behind them like a staff 
of hospital doktors a waitin' at the operatin' counter 
for their victims. This was the first sign of the feat, 
not a happy sign for me, for I hate the sight of waiters 
— I hate the look of their cold fish eyes that sees and 
says nothink, but keeps up a glassy stare upon yer all 
the time you're a eatin' your asparrygras, and then goes 
downstairs and larfs like Lucifer bekos yer don't happen 
to be eatin' it in the regilar way. I hate their everlastin' 
" Yes, sir," and their clean white aprons, and stiff 
neck-hankechers and well-pomatumed hair, as a feller 
hates the neatness of the surjin that's a poin' to perform 
upon him, bekos I know that this smoothness is alius 
followed by a attempt at bleedin' and a struggle about 



84 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

the bill, and I hate them more than all bekos they bring 
back to me the recolleckshuns of my old hard-up times 
when they lolled outside the dores of Verrey's like 
sentinels a standin' at the Gates of Plenty, and looked 
hawty at me as I wandered past 'em with a hungry hart. 
Therefore I say I wasn't delighted to see the waiters, 
and I don't know what mite not have happened to me 
if I hadn't all of a suddint come plump upon all the fun 
of the feat, and found myself in a long wide avenue 
filled with people and lined with booths. Sum of the 
people was what is called peasants, which is as much as 
to say they was chawbakons, that bein' the English 
word. Now a French chawbakon in full dress troubles 
my eye like onion. Fustly, as to his vissij, it is sprinkled 
with the remains of his whisker crop, as if he had bin 
tattooed with gunpowder ; then he wears a short blue 
smock, a pair of black continivations — a fashionable 
word — cut like speakin' trumpets, bein' broad at bottom 
and narrer at the top, and maybe wooden shoes skooped 
out on the moddel of the bark wich Noah chartered 
for his jurney round the world ; he has a duster round 
his neck, tied in a most egregius bow ; and he carries a 
pijj in-breasted umbereller, made of gingham, in one 
hand, and leads his wife and a string of children by the 
other — pretty little dears, about the size of mahogany 
chessmen, and about the same kuller, havin' aperiently 
bin dipped in corFee at that age when we most readily 
receev impressions. Sum of the fellers agin was boatin' 
men belonging to the Rowin' Club, in big top boots 
and knickerbockers and pilot-kotes, with the ushel 
devil-may-care look that all youths get arter they have 
once trubbled the water in a randan or a four-oared gig. 
There was also a few real old swells in stays, with 
crosses on their breasts, and a lot of smart young 
wimmen taking their chignons out for a walk. The 
main difference between French people and other people 
is that other people does things and Frenchmen over- 
does 'em. For instant, other people wears a hat — 



PARIS.— A FRENCH FETE. 85 

French people carries the idee out to its nateral conclu- 
sion and wears a steeple ; other people wears kollars — 
French people wears linen blinkers that keeps the eye 
warm, besides inflictin' the ushel torture upon the neck. 
Agin, other people's darters stuffs out their back hair 
with a pin-cushing — French people's darters puts a 
piller there, till there's no sayin' whether the gal was 
made for the chignon or the chignon for the gal. Other 
people's darters when they're angry stamps upon their 
heel — French people's darters stamps upon a long thing 
like the neck of a wine-bottle, which lays them up in 
limbo after walkin' for a quarter of a mile, justly 
reasonin' that if a thing is big, why shouldn't it be 
bigger ; if it's ugly, why shouldn't it be uglier ; and 
if it's uncomfortable, why shouldn't it be uncomfort- 
abler still ? — sich is the force of logekal idees. 

The booths at the fair was like the booths at all other 
fairs, filled with genuine cureosities in crockery and 
hair-combs, etcettery-, for I'm not a goin' to say a word 
agin 'em, havin' bin in the same line myself, and I know 
what a trubble it is to get 'em sold, and they won't 
keep. 

I felt a kind of purfessional pleshure in goin' about here, 
bekos no man can be said to know his bizness till he's 
seen how it's done in furrin parts abroad •, and I remem- 
bered the last words of my father when he retired from 
the purfession and handed over to me the donkey and 
the barrer, and the tent, and the two Indian twins, like- 
wise the pannyrammer of the " Death of Maria Martin," 
and the " Inexhaustible Coffee Pot." 

" Joe," he sez, " you're no dunce, and yew can make 
a puddin' in a hat with here and there a one. Still," he 
sez, " never be abuv try in' to larn. I thawt I was at 
the top of the purfession when I found out how to cut 
the twins' heads off and send 'em away in a basket out- 
side the tent, till a meer wanderin' feller stepped in one 
day and offered to show me for sixpence how to make 
'em sing a African comick song before they was jined to 



86 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

the bodies agin, wich he did it, and I pretty nigh made 
a fortin at that fair." 

These was my father's words, and I remembered 'em, 
and went about tryin' to larn. The fust thing I see was 
a conjurer jest beginnin' his performance. His old 
father was a piayin' the orgin and his mother was a 
totterin' by his side, and he did the conjurin and kept 
the pair. There was a splendid style about that man 
wich I have never seen ekwalled even by the very top 
of the purfession in our natif land. He very likely 
hadn't got sevenpence in his pocket, and he looked 
'ungry, but by his style you'd ha' thought he considered 
money to be meer cinders, and that he polished off a 
pint and a half of turtle every .day. His shoes let in 
the water, but the tinsel on the uppers was butifully 
done. His velvit cloak was rusty, but he wore it like a 
prince, and when he throw'd it open and showed the 
large order of merrit presented to him by the King o' 
Poland in solid gold, the enthoosiasm was immense, 
cheefly at his self-denial in sufferin' hisself to get so lean 
while he carried so much valyable property about his 
pussen. " Messeers and Madams," he sez, as soon as 
he had done this, " before we commence our seance 
may I trouble you to fall a little farther back." There 
was a splendid idee ! — " seance ;" why, nobody has the 
pluck to say that in England unless he performs in a 
theatre with five shillins for the back seats. " When 
we had the honor to meet one anuther larst year upon 
the other side of the avenoo," he sez, pintin' in the 
direckshun of a puddle among sum trees, " I informed 
yew that on my way home from the Court of Spain, to 
which I was then goin', I should probably take St. Cloud 
on my rout. I have dun so. For the few feats which 
I am priviliged to bring under your notice, gentlemen, I 
shall expeck no reward, but if you think fit to give a 
triflin' incurridgement to the musician, I shall not forbid 
him to receev it." 

Arter this he brought fourteen pin-cushins and a sack 



PARIS.— A FRENCH FETE, 87 

of sawdust out of a half-pint kan — a easy feat, but the 
style — the style — was the thing. A English conjurer 
would ha brought 'em out like a pin-cushin stuffer ; 
but he brought em out one by one, between his fingers, 
as if he had never seen sich things before in his life — 
daintily, like a artist as he was. 

While he was preparin' for the next feat the old 
"musician" begun to play the orgin, wich was mounted 
on a pair of trestles, and wiggled about as if its bellows 
wanted mendin'. O that toon ! that toon ! when will 
the memory on it leave me ? I have been guv to under- 
stand that the chief of the orgin-builders lives in France, 
and I have bin makin' kareful inkwiries arter him, in 
order to strike one gloreus blow for liberty, and free 
the world. I think I am on his tract. 

The next feat was with a learned dawg, wich howled 
every time you counted three, but I couldn't look at 
that. Everywhere, everywhere, in this age there's the 
kurse of over-edukation starin' yer in the fase ; there's 
no childhood, no youth, but the puppy is taken from 
the brest and taught arithmetik before he has larnt to 
bark. Thank goodniss that luv is not disposed of by 
competitif examinashun, or where would the lady's lap- 
dog be by the side of the conjurer's poodle ? 

When this was over, he sez, " I thank you for your 
attention, messeers, and beg to inform yer that the 
musician will now be permitted to receev gratooities." 
This sort of thing is alius very trying to the integrity of 
a krowd, and a few chucked in ha'pence and a great 
many walked away. But even this couldn't spile the 
conjurer's temper. "Do not let us lose the pleasure of 
your charmin' sersiety, gentlemen, on a mere question 
of soos," he sez. " The musician will give you some 
fresh seleckshuns, while I prepare another feat." 

" I don't play upon kredit," says the old feller, 
speakin' for the fust time. 

"That is unfortnit," says the conjurer, "and it 
relucktantly compels me to ask these gentlemen to con- 



88 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

tribbit a few more soos jest to satisfy the prejudices of 
my honist friend." 

This brought in, not a shower, but a kind of drizzlin' 
Scotch mist of ha'pence ; and soon arter the perform- 
ance was wound up. 

I was much struck as I walked on further to notis the 
way the Frenchman glides through life. He doesn't 
race through it as some people do. Even amid all the 
bustel and excitement of the seen, I see one merchant 
asleep behind his kownter, and another takin' a lesson 
on the fiddel. This is as it should be. Sleep and 
fiddlin' are two of the chief delites in natur'; and why 
shouldn't my brother enjoy 'em as well as me ? French 
people is very fond of pistol-shootin'. At every merry- 
makin', and even in the regilar darncin' halls, there's a 
gallery fitted up where yew may go and shoot at small 
plaster Aggers for a soo a shot. I ordered three- 
ha'porth, but before I begun, I looked along the row of 
huming targits to see if I could see anybody I knowed. 
At fust I couldn't, but at larst I spied a little feller that 
was the very immidge of Exchekker Ben, my dearest 
frend, though it wasn't ment for him, and to show the 
strange perversity of human natur', I fired at that little 
figger till I bloo its hed off. Providence at fust refused 
to help me, and guided my bullits to the rite and left. 
Ben's immidge was standin' between a plaster kow and 
a peasant, jest for all the world as Ben hisself does in 
Bucks, where he's the senter of the agrikultural system. 
I knocked the kow down, and I smashed the peasant, 
but I couldn't hit Ben. At larst I took a dedly aim, 
and then he fell, as if he was determined not to survive 
the rooin . of the landed interest. Direckly I see him 
layin' on the flore I would have give the world for a 
little white of egg and flour to paste him together agin, 
but it was too late, and I walked away full of the most 
gloomiest refleckshuns. I wonder what is the meaning 
of this strange fit of ferosity. There was the figger of 
a Scotchman within easy reach of my pistol, yet I didn't 



PARIS.— A FRENCH FETE. 89 

aim at him. Why didn't I shoot the Scotchman ? It 
is a mystery. 

A female fenomenon, weighing loo kilomeeters, was 
the next site, and the perpietors was a old Frenchman 
and his wife, who seemed to have sacrificed all their 
own share of vittles to feed the gal. We had a long 
chat about exhibitin' fat gals, also about the cost of 
keepin' a jiant and a dwarf, during which I remarked 
that what you saved by the dwarfs vittles you lost by 
his temper, as no other animal could live in the same 
caravan along with him without bloodshed. From this 
and one or two other sientifick observations I made, the 
old feller guessed at once I was in the purfession, and 
as soon as I sed I was, nothink would sarve his turn 
but he must escort me round the fair jest as a English 
General escorts a Rooshian ingineer over our fortifica- 
tions, and vicey versey — these korteseys being customary 
amongst all purfessional men. The fust thing he showed 
me was a exhibition of performin' apes and dawgs, 
callin' my attenshun to the different modes of treatin' 
this interestin' subjeck among the English and French. 
" You, bein' a aristocratic nation, proud of your old 
nobility," sez he, " generally divides the animals into 
two classes, footmen and lords — you bring a carridge 
on the stage with a kupple of monkeys in it to repre- 
sent the noblemen, and a kupple of dawgs in livery to 
represent the sarvints as waits upon 'em and drives 'em 
about, and in the next tabloo you have a tea-party, 
where the animals pledges their selves in that invigoratin' 
drink to stand by your ancient constitootion ; but obsarve 
the direckshun of the popular currants amongst us — 
that monkey in the crinoline represents a grisette, and 
that poodle in the velvit hat is a gay young Paris stoodent, 
bent on seein' life ; or else," he sez, " it is a millingtery 
specticle — the monkey dragged out for disobedience 
and ordered to be shot by his kumrades, and four 
poodles waitin' in harness to a gun-carridge to drag him 
off to a soldier's grave. Observe the larfter of the 



90 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

wimmen at the fust tabloo, and the cheers of the men 
at the sekkond." Arter this, we see the " Capter of 
Mexico" for fippence a. piece, a lottery for chiny, a game 
at skittles — in which the prize was a live duck tied to 
the leg of the board by a bit of string, which the game 
was never meant to be konkered as there was no sekkond 
duck in reserve ; a man swingin' by one leg at a hight 
of five-and-thirty feet from the ground for anythink you 
liked to give him, and a pannykrammer of London, in 
which there was no mention of Kollyflour-alley, and 
then we lunched on fried strips of pertater and a glass 
of wine, eaten hot from the ovin without a phawk, and 
see the grand fountings play in', and a solejer lookin' 
sharp after the water to see as it didn't run away too 
fast. 

My general observashun on French feats is that they 
are frivvylus things, especially for grown-up people. 
Anythink reely manly, sich as a exhibition of bull- 
puppies, a singin' match between two canareys for a leg 
of mutton, or a flte between dawgs or men, is almost 
unbeknown here. In konsequence, the people is not 
only wicked, but effeminat. My hart warms towards a 
feller who winds up a day of pleshur in the usuel way, 
but to hear that called happyness when a man walks 
strait to his own 'ome carryin' a kupple of dekanters 
and a snuff-box, and tootlin' on a penny whissel which 
he has won in a lottery at a fair, is disgusting and alius 
makes me fizzle with contemp. 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 01 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 

r'VE got nothin' to say agin glory ; it's all very well 
-■■ in its way, but the question I alius ask when I see 
any feller looking soft and foolish while others is a hip, 
hip, hooraying of 'im is, " Has it any stayin' power in 
it ? "Will it larst ?" Some likes to see an 'ero in the 
mornin' when he's got 'is 'elmit on, and the sunbeems 
makes his face like polished silver, and the drums beats 
out like thunder with the rumatizm, and the gals and 
other feemales waves their hankechers, and all the big 
and all the little babies chirrups out " Brayvo ;" but I 
likes to see him later in the day, when he's puttin' of 'is 
nite-kap on and hoppin' into bed, and to heer him 
murralizin' when all the sunlite in his chaimber is jest a 
farthin' dip. If his sleep is sawft and peasful well and 
good, but if there's stikin'-plaster underneeth his 'elmit, 
and several holes for nite-lites let into his ribs as keeps 
him wide awake and groanin', while all his lovin' frends 
is fast asleep, why then the glory doesn't seem so 
pretty, arter all. Neddy snortid all the way to Billinsgit 
when he wore his new harniss on the fust of May, but 
at eventide his back was like a nutmeg-grater — sich is 
vanity and ambishun among the beests of the feeld, and 
sich their f roots. 

Wot a puzzle this univarse is, to be sure ! I've 
thawt over some of the problems in it till my aking 
brain has buzzed with angwish like a hummin'-top, and 
I've kwafFed goblets full o' rosy wine (malt wine), and 
red Mangle's historikal kwestins without comin' a bit 
nearer to the mark. One of the chief things I can't 
make out is how it happens that the greater part of 
human natur lets itself be ridden about and druv this 
way or that by a few of its feller-kreeters, when, if it 



92 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. ' 

was jest to giv one kick, it 'ud be its own master and 
free to rome about and nibble the green pasturs wherever 
it found 'em. It's nateral enuff that pussons in our pur- 
fession should try to be little gay deceivers when we're 
weighin' taters or measurin' kidney-beans ; but why, in 
the name of Hookey, does our unfort'nit victims, the 
servant gals, suffer us to do it ? Our wickedniss is 
owin' to the fall in huming natur ; but their stoopiderty 
comes from no one but theirselves. It's the same with 
all other pussons in authority. Emperors must frekwently 
larf inside their kote-kuffs at the addressis of loyal 
poppylashuns ; and as for the leeders of grate consti- 
tootional parties, why, Benjamin and me used to pass 
our time in one round o' ticklin' and larfter as soon as 
we got behind the seens ; and, whenever he kaught my 
hi in Parlyment, he alius klosed his own optik and 
gently rubb'd his phawfinger over his noze. 

It's curus that soldiers should be found willin' to turn 
their bodies into pincushions for eighteenpense a-day— 
curus that country labourers should kiver half the airth 
with korn krops and then get nort but husks and 
scrapins for their pains — curus that the 'Ampstead-heath 
donkeys don't rize in rebellion along with the other 
depressed nashionalities — curus that wimmen should 
still beleev the honnied aksents of our witchin' tongues ; 
but it's most curus of all that a kupple of lusty fellers 
should find no better work in natur than to step into a 
ring and flog one anuther into sassige meat, all for to 
please a set of wretches as Old Scratch hisself couldn't 
handle without defilin' of his pitchfawk. 

From fust to larst the ketchin' of a fitin' man is much 
the same as the ketchin' of a fly — they're both entrapped 
by lookin' at a bit of paper plastered over with some- 
thing gummy and deceitful. The insekt's jurnal's called 
a " Ketch-'em- Alive, O," and goes at sumthing like a 
ha'penny ; but the huming kreetur's has the name o' 
"Sportin' Periodikal," and is sold at all prices from a 
penny up to fourpens. One fine mornin' sum young 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 93 

feller blessed with helth and strength and a big, brave 
.hart, picks up this same periodikal, and he reads in it a 
heap of pretty trifles, under the head of " Doins in the 
Ring." Everybody knows how slick us literairy kovies 
is in ritin' with our pens. We can talk about the 
sweetness of a cabbij till most people beleeves they're 
smellin' of a rose. So everything about the fitin' men 
reads so nutty that the pore kreetur fancies it the most 
sportif style o' livin' out ; and whereas the path o' life 
for most men is rayther ruff and nubbly, it looks as if 
the road for fitin men was jist a reg'lar jig to glory with 
musik blowin' all the way. He reeds, perhaps, the fust 
thing, sum story of "a merry mill." Bless us, ain't it 
pretty, " Anteceadents of the men," "Latest noose from 
trainin' kwarters," "Description of the jurney down 
by rale ;" " The Fite," a luvly pickter freshened up 
with jist a little " claret" here and there — collection for 
" Muggy Donovin," the beaten man, " defeated, not 
disgraced," and the whole party returnin' merrily bak 
to town, Corinthean patterns "highly gratifide with 
their mornin's sport." 

Arter that kums the advertizements of the sportin' 
houses. Talk about the extravaganzies at the Strand ! 
they can't be nothin' to 'em for roarin' fun : — 

" Old Jemmy Banks, the veteran, still at 'ome — Cum erly 
to the Pig and Thunderbolt, where Jimmy's alius glad to see 
his friends. The sub-kommittee on the Rattin' sports sits 
every Thursdy nite, with all the dead defunkt of past ages 
stuffed like Natur in the Bar. The old dawg, Pincher, not- 
withstandin' the recint loss of his wife, still kills three hundred 
rats within sich a time. Lekturs on the nobel art o' Boxin', 
by Purfessur Haggerty, with experryments on the livin' subjeck. 
The whole to konklude with harminy and the social glarse. 
Noty beany : Ugly Mawley, the konqueror of Muggy Donovin, 
will take the chare on Monday next, supportid by a host o' 
talons." 

I've red loads o' glorious ritin' over battle-fields, 



94 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

which is jest about as pretty and jest about as troo as 
this. 

So on Monday nite the Greenhorn goes there, and 
what he then sees ought to cure him of his nonsense, 
if he had his wits awake. The veterun, a sort of 
stumpy little fellow, with a big fish hi, sits behind a 
dusty little bar with all his dirty dawgs around 'im ; 
but insted o' welcomin' his customer hell hardly do so 
much as throw a look upon him. By-and-by Sir 
Simpleton gits narvous, seem' every thin' so kwiet, and 
sez he to Banks, the veterun, " If yer please, sir, 
when's the sub-kommittee on the rattin' sports agoin 
to sit ?" " Sub-kommittee o' what ?" sez the other, 
lookin' rayther owly, as if he'd never heard on it afore. 
" Why, the things that's advertised in the sportin paper," 
sez the Greenhorn ; "I hope I haven't kum too late ?" 
" O, yes, I remember," sez the other, givin' a kind o' 
grin-, "jest in time-, up stares, fust dore on the rite, 
and sixpense to pay." Down goes the sixpense, and 
up goes Mr. Greenhorn, and finds hisself in a musty 
little sordusty room, with harf a duzzen funny lookin' 
fellers with big heds like the figgers in a pantymine, 
setting down a smokin' of their pipes. He hain't bin 
heer long befor he arsks anuther question, finding things 
is halso dedly kwiet, and sez he, " Which'll kum on 
fust, please — the sub-kommittee or Purfessur Haggerty's 
lektur ?" " O," sez a feller with a sort o' turnip face, 
" the lektur, to be sure," he sez, winkin' slyly at the 
rest on 'em ; " I'm Purfessur Haggerty, and as I've 
took rayther a fansy to the look on yer, I don't mind if 
I begins with yew." " Thank yer," sez the Greenhorn, 
puttin' down his sixpense very reddy, and drawin' on a 
pare of dirty gluvs ; "but mind yer don't hit hard." 
" 'Tain't likely," sez the other, " we never does" — at 
the same time liftin' him nearly of? his legs with a rite- 
hander on the probonskis (latten for noze). " Lor' 
bless us," sez he, " to think o' that now ; it was kwite 
a slip ; it's all the tailor's fault, for I alius lets go care- 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 95 

less when I've got my jakkit on, as it isn't tight enuff 
about the sleeves." " Never mind," sez the others, 
" have another try" — and so he does, and arter a few 
more " slips" can't as much as grope his way down the 
starekase, and he finds the lektur gives kwite enuff em- 
plyment to the mind, without the sub-kommittee on the 
rattin' sports, or the harminy to roller. 

If he's got the sense to stop at this pint, well and 
good ; but it's odds he goes agin, and keeps on going 
till he's larned to box a little bit hisself, and then they 
gammon him to have a fite with sum deloodid creetur 
jest caught about as stupidly as he was in sum other 
sportin' den. The day kums, and then for the fust time 
in his life he finds hisself opperzite another man he's 
hardly ever seen afore, and never had a word of kwarrel 
with, and trying hard to pummel him to putty powder. 
If his stummik sickens at it, as it orfen will, there's lots 
o' wretches by to larf him out o' feelin', cause it's 
womanish, and he goes on until the other lies 'elpless 
as a lump of butcher's meat, and he sees his " frends" 
a darncing like a lot o' devils cos he's won. 

Then kums the primest pleashur in existens. He sees 
his name in print. There's nothin more deliteful to a 
youth than this. (Well do I remember the fust time it 
happened to me, I torsed about all nite as restliss as if 
there was bred crums in the bed.) The sportin' papers 
prints his name in kapetals, with hysterics at the end, 
and sez his style in puttin' in the finisher was a reg'lar 
touch of genius kwite beyond the reech of hart ; and 
he gits his hed turned, fancies he's a-goin' to be champion 
of England, throws his trade up, and, maybe, takes 
some decint gal to wife. 

Arter a bit he has anuther battl' — this time for a 
larger steak ; but as he can't find all the money a lovin' 
frend steps in to help him, as the papers calls " a sportin' 
gentleman," but never lets his name appear in print. 
And so he is a gentleman, ev'ry inch on him, right away 
from his hoss-shoe pin down to his boots > ornamentid 



96 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

with fancy stitchin' in kullered silk. He's none o' them 
as kivers up their hands in gloves because they karn't 
afford to show a duzzen rings, and as for chane his 
cable's big enuff to hold a steemship at her moorings. 
He swears butiful, and he lives by riting down the 
names of hosses in a little book — a very gentlemanly 
occypashun, as don't leave a stane upon the fingers, or 
sile anything that kan be seen. When this sekund 
battle's over the lovin' frend gets nearly all the money, 
while Greenhorn takes undisturbed possession of the 
gloary and the knocks. This is wot they kails " Divi- 
sion of Prophets" — a term used in books of arithmetik 
and other works of imagination. 

Greenhorn's gettin' kwite a grate man now. He 
krops his hare and has his portrit taken, and is much 
vurshipped by apprentices in the koal trade. Small 
dealers in kan dies also looks upon him as a shinin' lite, 
and sits for hours of a hevenin' watchin' of his face in 
hopes he'll say a wurd and let 'em have a chance to 
brag they've spoken to a fitin' man. At fust he treats 
'em with contemp, but gettin' short o' cash he's obliged 
to sarve 'em as his brother yeroes does. He loafs about 
and drinks at their expens, and tosses 'em for money, 
and if they tries to argy that he's cheatin' he knocks 'em 
down. He makes a moddle husband too, seldom going 
ome till three o'clok in the mornin', and orfen sleepin' 
on the door-step rayther than introod upon his wife and 
baibs. 

Arter a bit he wins another battl', and in korse he 
makes a reg'lar host of f rends, especially wile the little 
money lasts that he gets from Mr. Coldblud the sportin' 
gent. Wot a plessunt thing it is to be luv'd ! 

This time he gits a helper of anuther sort. Did ye 
ever see a Korinthian patrun ? It's a luvly site. He's 
generally sum overgroun baby as has jist got out of 
turn-doun kollars and the measles, and having red the 
life of Jerry Hawthorn and the privit memories of 
George the Fourth, he fancies one can't be a swell 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 97 

unless he larns to bet, and akts as pattrun to a fitin* 
man. So as soon as his mother lets him out o' nites, 
he goes to sum fine sportin' house, and Mr. Landlord 
picks him up at once, and makes a reg'lar gold-mine of 
him. Pore young cub ! He spars with all the fitin' 
men, as have orders not to hit him hard, and winds up 
every lesson by standin' bumpers of shampain. It's 
jest a kase of foolin', both on one side and the other. 
Greenhorn thinks it pretty to be patted by a lord ; and 
he don't mind how orfen he gits his head punched 
when it's harf-a-crown a tap- and the lord's as proud 
as Lucifers to think of facin' sich a man as Greenhorn, 
as have floored so many fellers twice 'is size ; while all 
the time the sportin' publikin larfs at both on 'em like 
Old Nik in a thunder-storm, and drops the golden 
shiners in his till. 

Arter a few more battles lost and won, Greenhorn 
finds his reppytation's on the vane, and he makes one 
larst struggle to pull hisself together. His friends ain't 
kwite so friendly as they used to be, and the sportin' 
publikin tells him if he doesn't win sum money he must 
leav' the house. Also, his wife and children is starvin' 
half their time for bred. So he puts a little money 
down and the young Korinthian finds the rest, and 
makes a match to fite some risin' feller as young 
as he was when he fust begun, meanin' to win or di for 
it, for he knows that losin' would be wus than deth. 

Arter severil weeks o' trainin' the happy mornin' 
kums, and odd enufF the railway's sure to have a train 
runnin' to jest the spot the trav'lers wants to reach. 
The d'rectors fancies it's a Sunday skool going out to 
see the sun rise, so it's kwite clear they ain't anyways to 
blame. All the nite before, the sportin' housis has bin 
full o' lion-heartid fellers, say in' what a pretty fite it'll 
be, Greenhorn being rayther hold, but full o' siense, 
and the other jest as strong and lusty as a savvij bull ; 
and little swells creeps in the dirty tap-rooms to buy 
their tickets, getting harf choked with bad tobakky 

H 



98 MR. SIROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

smoke and beer, and old white-headed men, once kut 
out for better things, swaggers about the doins of their 
youth, tells you how they and the Markis o' Slap- 
dash used to go among the fitin' men in olden times, 
and alius winds the story up by arskin' yer to stand 
sum bier. 

But, as I sed, the happy mornin' kums, and pretty ni 
before the lark's up the train is on its way. You 
couldn't have a finer site of buty if you was goin' to a 
weddin', for as soon as you've got out of town you see 
the sun a marchin' up the heavens in his gloary, and far 
away on ev'ry side of yer the feelds as level as a bowlin' 
green till they lose their selves in hills all planted thick 
with buddin' trees, as seems to kiss the woolly klouds ; 
and dottid all about is farmers' houses, and tiny rivers 
windin' like a skane of silver thred, and lanes with rows 
of ripenin' hedges as makes yer fall into a kind o' 
dreemin' at the site on 'em, and fancy that yer kourtin' 
days is kum agin, and yu're whisperin' plessunt nonsense 
in sum pretty wench's ear, and kissin' of her nut-brown 
cheek, till you're woke agin with a different sort o' 
whisp'rin' from the fellers in the train, and things is 
sed that isn't worth the listenin' to, either by wimmen 
or by men. 

At last yer train stops ded, and out you skramble to 
sum pretty grass-grown field, with the dew a tremblin' 
on the butterkups, and a kwiet cottej chimberley 
smokin' in the corner of it, and the larks a singin' over- 
hed, and little children pickin' flowers, as runs away as 
soon as they see yer comin'. "It's the sweetest place 
in natur for a fite," sez sumbody, and then they bring 
the ropes and steaks, and pitch the ring. 

In a little time everybody's reddy to see a kumfurtable 
fite. Most of the biggest swindlers as can be spared 
from the convict prisons, some bettin' men and sportin' 
publikins, dusted with jest a sprinklin' of swells and 
any other fools that's got the money to waste, is outside 
of the ring •, and inside, stripped for fightin', graspin' 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 99 

hands with one anuther, is old Greenhorn and his man, 
and in ev'ry korner stands a sekund, with a spunge and 
water reddy for the blood, and gentil voises, horse with 
gin and fog, bettin' which'll draw it fust. In another 
minnit the fat old umpire'll sing out "Time," and 
they'll begin. 

I fancies I can see anuther sight in London far away 
— at this very minnit, too — a pore hart-broken kreetur 
cryin' with her hungry babies, and pray in' God may 
send her husband is the winner. Pore thing ! got 
nothin' else to pray for but that one man may be 
smashed instead of t'other.- 

I tell yer, when I thinks of these two senes in town 
and country, and the fools and wretches for whose sake 
it's all bin done, I dunno wich to do — to larf at Green- 
horn or to git my wife to kry over him ; and how sich 
things kan happen is the puzzel, as I sed at the beginnin' 
of the chapter. Brother, who made that white flesh of 
thian as saleable as kat's-meat, and sent these filthy 
hucksters here to bid for it, and buy it with their gold ? 
It would be true and valiant didst thou let it all be torn 
asunder for a noble kause, for thy soal would fly away 
to Heaven, when the wounds had let it out ; but O, my 
brother, who will have that soal when its walls of flesh 
is rent to pieces in such a kawse as this ? — et cettery. 

The battle's getting very warm and plessunt now, as 
you can heer by the screamin' round the ring. The 
blood is spurtin' like a waterin' pot all over Greenhorn's 
brest, and different sorts o' kullered lightnin' is flashin' 
in the other feller's eyes. At every blow the sekunds 
yells and rolls upon the ground with larfin', and the 
brave onlookers nibbles sandwiches, and tells 'em 
"never to giv in." This is what is called impartial 
judgment, for they don't like fightin' not a bit their- 
selves — they'd rather stand a duzzen kicks than strike 
a blow. At larst the other feller gets a pretty knock 
at Greenhorn, and sends him back'ards on the grass, 
till his hed seems to dent into the earth. 



100 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

"There never was sich a pretty fite, so orderly and 
kumfurtabF. Pass the beer." 

"Why, surely Greenhorn's never goin' to giv in 
with such a tap as that. They ain't been fightin' more 
than sixty minnits. Bite his ear and hold some hice 
upon his knob, and send him up agin." 

(I fancy I can heei that woman pray in' ev'ry minnit 
more and more. — Josef.) 

" Brayvo, Greenhorn's up agin !" " Look at the old 
fool staggerin'; he's blind. Why don't yer lead him to 
his man ?" " That's it. Brayvo, Greenhorn ! Brayvo, 
sumbody else !" " Did yer see that blow, sir ? wasn't 
it a luvly touch ? seemed to smoothe the ruff parts of 
his nose so pretty !" " Hallo ! why Greenhorn's down 
agin. I'm afrade we shall lose our money, arter all." 

He's done his best to win it, gentlemen — Greenhorn's 
dead. 

Let the curting drop upon the body and the broken 
hart a prayin' God to let her take her rest beside it. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the performance'U be repeatid 
until further notis, as long as the Government license 
larsts. 



ON GLORIOUS WAR. 

[The outbreak of the war between Austria and Prussia 
drew general attention to the evils of the continental military 
systems. 

T'VE often wondered what sort of paste they uses to 
keep sum things in the univarse together. When our 
chany punch-boal went to glory, a artist set it all to 
rights agin with a few rivits and a lot of stickey stuff 
as made the varus bits grappl' one another to their harts 
as tight as two-day-old frends ; but when I arsked what 
the mixter was, he giv a very superfishal kind o' wink, 



ON GLORIOUS WAR. 101 

and sed it was a sekret of the trade granted to the chiny 
jiners by a charter from Edward the Processor, and 
could not be dibulged. " Very well," says I, "then 
don't dibulge it •" and there the matter ended. 

Since that time IVe thawt both long and dieply on 
the varus kinds o' pastes ; for it isn't only chiny punch- 
boals, you'll obsarve, that is held together in this heer 
kind o' way. Look at the Chinee popilation their selves, 
and the poor rag, tag, and bob-tail kreeturs that pre- 
tends to govern 'em. It must be summut stronger than 
flour and water that makes that popilation stick together 
to be trampled on and sawn to pieces, not to speak o' 
bein' sumtimes roastid in the way it do. (" Riz up, yer 
Goths, and lite yer fires." — Extrack from a Fragment.) 
Also, it's wonderful kind o' birdlime that binds people 
into societies for shirt-buildin' at eightpence-ha'penny a- 
day. I've heerd say that even gold-dust has to be 
melted in the likvid that holds our grate constitootional 
party together ; which I can well beleeve, for yew can 
bind all sorts o' tempers and interests into union with 
the mixter known as " Conservatif paste." 

Havin' harf-an-'our to waist the other day, I took to 
readin' of the publick prints, and I larnt to my grate 
surprise that some of them restless furriners is kickin' 
up another rumpus, and that over a million men is 
bein' gently put on to bile for the purpus o' cuttin' one 
anuther's throats. One feller writes a proclymation — 
"To my Peoples" — (keep yer i on that "peoples" — 
not people — reg'lar strings on 'em, like sassiges) and sez 
he, " My brother's behaviour has bin very tempestjus," 
he sez, " and I think he'd be all the better for a little 
brotherly wallopiri'. You've alius bin very hungry to 
git at him," he sez, " but I wouldn't never let yer 
before ; howsumever, I give yer leav' to sit on him now, 
for my patience has all bin biled to rags. You have 
every motif of honor and patrotism to make yure 
feelins fizz ; your country has bin insulted, and yure 
napsacks will be filled with bread and meat. So wire 



102 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

in, my babes, and heaven bless you ! — Guv at our City 
of So-and-so, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
eight hundred and sixty-six." 

This is reg'lar sweetmeats to the infants aforesaid, or 
it's what mite be called millingtary glue, for it dovetails 
'em all together till they feels as one man. Fancy bein' 
called " My People" by a Emperor ! " Hooray ! lead 
us agin the hawty fo," vich is as much as to say, 
" We're on the bile at larst." It's curus, mind yer, he's 
wallopped them all round in this fashion with one 
anuther's help. But I have observed the same sort of 
patriotism in the feathered tribe when I've bin out burd- 
catchin'. Speak softly to an old chaffinch as has bin 
locked up half his lifetime in a cage in Seven Diles, 
and he will decompany yew into the green fields and 
chirrup " How appy are we" till he's drawn a lot of 
his relations into the net, and made 'em pris'ners like 
hisself, and then, when he's got 'em safe in Seven Diles 
agin, he leaves off his gentle warble, and sez he, " I 
never see such owdacious hidjuts as yew are in the 
whole corse of my life," and pecks 'em. 

Then the hawty fo has his turn at mixing a pot -full 
o' proclymation paste. " Goodness gracious," he sez, 
at the beginnin' of his bit o' writin', "how wicked 
some pussons is. Bein' a lamb by birth," sez he, "I 
naterally hanker arter pease, whereas my Royal brother 
is in favour o' nothin' but tantrums and bloodshed. 
You will not forgit the traditions of a glorious parst," 
he sez — (which is as much as to sey the less you think 
about the present the better) — "leave off yer sholeder- 
straps and tickle yer country's foe with the baggernet. 
Yourn is a holy mission. I'm sorry to hear as sum of 
yer are starvin', but this is a time to forgit all petty 
differences. As for my kwarrel with the Parliment, I 
propose a honorable compromise, which is, that I shall 
be allowed to have my own way. Our caws is just. 
As soon as my fether-beds and foot-warmers is ready, 
I shall jine yew in the tented field. Ta-ta." 



ON GLORIOUS WAR 103 

This is famous paste, and the pore Chaubakons in 
the country distriks likes it better than gruel. There's 
so many big things mixed up in it, yer see — " Luv 
of country," " Nashional destiny," " Devotion to my 
throne and house," each on 'em bein' naterally of a 
sticky natur' ; but, when combined, more bindin' than a 
hook of steel. Yokel reads the proclymation, looks at 
his thin wife, his raggid children, his own rough cloze, 
and his miserabl' hutch of a home, and thinks he'd like 
to be away from it, to change it all for the clean barricks, 
a pretty uniform, and occasional musik on the trumpit. 
Then, agin, sez a woise inside him, " It wouldn't be 
rite to leave the aforesaid to shift for theirselves ;" but 
another woise says, " Think of the nashional destiny 
and yer duty to the throne." "Ah, of course," he 
sez, "I'd nearly forgot that •" and he keeps a mutterin' 
it over to his self, as children whistles nigger melodies 
in the dark to friten away the devil. " Besides," he 
sez presently, " I'm tired of this everlastin' hat-touchin' 
to the bigwigs of the villij , It's better to have one 
master, and that master a man, than to be under fifty 
old women. Have the goodness to putt my name down 
on the list. Hooray for our country's caws !" 
" Ha ! ha ! ha !" (Josef Sprouts a larfin'.) 
He's soon kwite ready to leev his natif plaice. At 
this junkter, there's now and then some highly comick 
scenes with the wimmen, as have bin a weak-minded 
generation ever since the fall of the earth. I red 
a humorous akkount the other day of some on 'em 
thro win' of theirselves underneath a railway injine as 
was goin' to carry away their husbiands, lovyers, and 
frends to this gloreous war, and threatenin' to get 
crushed beneath the wheels if moved away without 'em. 
This is called Juggernawt in Indy. — (Historikal parallel 
communicated by a frend.) The capting of the solegers 
promised that if they'd only get off the rails he'd have 
some other carridges hooked on, so as they could jump 
into and decompany the troops. He kep his word, and 



104 MR SPROUTS BIS OPINIONS. 

the fresh carridges was soon filled with the dawters of 
Heave, and the train moved off ; but it was found that 
by some unlucky accident they'd forgot to jine the 
wimmen's carridges to them as carried the men, and so 
the sawfter sex was left behind at the railway-station 
arter all. When I read this out to Elizurbeth, she 
enjoyed it to sich a degree that the very tears came in 
her eyes. We're both very fond of a joke. 

We've seen Chaubakon leave his natif railway-station. 
Where is he got to by this time ? Why, he's struttin' 
about a garrison town and dividing his time between 
garding a empty watch-box and playin' at cards in small 
beer-houses along with the landlord and his frends. 
There's two parts of the purfession of soldiering — 
namely, poetry and pipeclay : he's had his allowanse of 
the fust in the proclymation, and he's now takin' mild 
doses of the second several times a day. They're takin 
the stoop out of his back, makin' him turn his toes out, 
teachin' him to prog with the baggonet, and, generally 
speakin', makin' him a man. Above all, he's slowly 
arrivin' at that hight of huming perfeckshun — not to 
think for hisself. This is the greatest triumph of 
scientifick kulture, as the crab said when he larnt to 
walk backwards. 

Meanwhile, Yokel from the other side (him as was 
nabbed by the second proclymation) is marchin' in in 
jest the same way. He's still severil hundred miles 
apart from Chaubakon, so there's no danger of their 
fitin' yet. He's bein' drilled into his patent manhood in 
the same way as Chaubakon is. Yoothful officers about 
the size of gnats is skimmin' around him, and hurtin' of 
their delekit little throstles by bellowin' out commands ; 
drill sarjents in tight kollars is doin' their best to make 
him fix his gaze upon anuther and better world -, cor- 
porals is enterin' of all his vices in a memorandum book, 
and, having riz from the ranks theirselves, peckin' of 
him like the Seven Diles chaffinches aforesaid ; and a 
whole flight of newspaper correspondents, armed with 



ON GLORIOUS WAR. 105 

oppery-glarses and soft felt hats, is takin' down his 
pints, so that a patriotik publik can combine hot rolls 
with instruckshun when it's a takin' of its brekfust in 
the mornin'. " Latest news from the army ; " " Splendid 
moral and physic of our noble troops ; " " Visit of his 
Majesty and the Royal Princes ;" " Ball in the camp of 
the Twenty-seventh Corpse, followed by fiieworks ;" 
"Arrival of the horspital staff with lint, bandages, 
surgikal instruments, and a selekt stock of wooden 
legs;" "Touchin' instance of forethawt ; " "A very 
excellent effekt produced upon our veteruns by hearin' 
of the nashional subscripshun to purvide 'em with glarse 
eyes." 

Chaubakon and Yokel moved a step nearer to one 
anuther yesterday. The burgermaster or mare of each 
town come out to read an address to 'em, and there was 
a banquet in the evenin'. 

What a plessunt site it is to see two hulkin' specimens 
of butcher's meet, otherwise bullocks, bein' druv along 
different streets of London, yet meetin' in the same 
shambles at larst. " Why, who'd ha' thought o' seein' 
yoo here ?" says the Hereford to the Yorkshire ox. 
" It was a pleasure I didn't anticipate," sez the other. 
" I hope we shall meet agin on the hooks in the butcher's 
shop. Good-bye for the present — I think they're a 
waitin' to knock me down." 

Chaubakon's wife is living a brisk life now he's away, 
very favourable to the study of nature, for she has to 
rize considerably erlier than the sun does, and she's 
generally wide awake long after he's quenched hisself 
in the western wave. His little children is being taught 
habits of industry, for the two eldest ones of seven and 
eight is out at work already, and has sum very respect- 
abl' korns upon their hands ; also their little trousers is 
patched about like draftboards, and their shoes is fear- 
fully and wonderfully made. It's strange to see 'em 
puttin' of their little horny hands togethur at bedtime 
and prayin' and singin' hymns to the musik of the 



106 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

mangel, with Mrs. Chaubakon, their mamma, as or- 
ganist ; and all for Chaubakon — all for that turnip- 
headed country lout, a sort of speck or dot among 
countless other turnip heads, as, ritely looked at, is merely 
so much immaterial of war. 

" Latest Noose by Telegraph. 
" Both the armies now is close together on the field 
of the Crimson Rag, and nothin' can save 'em both 
from comin' to a engagement to-morrer." 

The gloreus morrer dawns. The cockpit, where the 
funny little creeturs is to fite their tussel cut, is all alive 
with fethers and britely glistenin' spurs. All nite long 
there's bin a clatter and a bustle, fellers gallopin' here 
and there with orders, rank and file bein' mustered in 
their places ; doctors, wimmen, pill-boxes, and other 
superflooities packed off to the rear. At larst the sun 
aims up smilin', and he shines on seven or eight con- 
tinual miles of men, some on 'em standin' boldly in the 
open, some hid away in yaller cornfields, some planted 
jest upon the crests of hills. Chaubakon, with his 
regiment, is standing near that pretty orchard on the 
right ; but where is Yokel as he's come to meet ? 

Why, Yokel's a long way off from Chaubakon still. 
Right over in the distance, yonder, you'll twig anuther 
six or seven mile of dust, clouds, and shiftin' cullers, 
with here and there a quiverin' streak of light j and if 
yew used a powerful spy-glarse yew might see Yokel 
there, for it's the other army a waitin' to begin. 

And now you know my meanin' when I pays my 
triboot to the everlastin' power of paste. What a 
mixter it must be as can bind these fourteen miles o' 
huming critters of all shapes, sizes, and occypations, 
both of soul and body, together in their present pursoot 
of happiness ! If it hadn't bin for paste Chaubakon 
would have still bin grovellin', like a base-born peasant, 
in his natif fields, and Yokel 

But hark ! the battle's begun ! Oh, gloreous moment ! 



OA GLOPJOUS WAR. 107 

Dost thou hear yonder boom and rattle, as if the larst 
day had cum, and the heavens was belchin' fire on saints 
and sinners ; and rocks, and palacis, and poor men's huts 
was all crashing together into the kassums of the rifted 
earth ? It is the battle, the brave battle, so gloreous 
for our caws ! Dost thou mark yonder fan-like droves 
of men dancin' about in smoke, and spittin' flame at one 
another like adders in a heap of burnin' twigs ? and, far 
away, the clash of steel on steel as countless numbers 
charge together in the middle of the plane ? It is the 
battle, the gloreous battle, still ! Dost thou see them 
youngsters, who have lingered here since daybreak, 
fretting, chafin' in the ranks like Derby hosses waitin' 
for a start ? They sniff the gloreous battle far away, 
and are hungerin' to be in it. Them fellers bein' carried 
neck and heeis to rearward have only jest bin there ; shall 
we lift the kotes from off their facis and ask 'em how 
the gloreous battle goes ? Better not ; they're lyin' 
very kwiet, and it'll soon be time for us to go and see 
it for ourselves* 

Our turn is cum at larst, and not a bit too erly, for 
we've been waitin' here all day. The General says' we 
aint to let that battery be taken, so forward, boys ! and 
stab the enemy out •, never stop for loadin' — yer bag- 
gernets will do. The calmest man among us is gettin' 
grizzly now, for the enemy's shot is gappin' us like ill— 
kep hedge-rows, and yew get very sweet on even surly 
comrades when yew see 'em fall. Grate Chaubakon, 
that lump of slack-baked clay cut out for work, for 
heavy suppers, and for heavier sleep, is all afire now, 
snortin' loud with rage and hate ; for a gust of wind 
has made a rent in the smoke cloud that hangs about 
the battery, and through it, for the first time in his life, 
he sees the face of mortal foe — brave Yokel waitin' 
ready to receive him. Another moment, and their 
bonny baggernets is clashin' one upon anuther, and the 
smoke cloud closes up agin and shuts 'em out from 
sight. Hooray ! they're met together at larst ! 



108 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

O, paste, paste ! paste ! wondrus offishal paste ! Nine 
hundred miles apart lived Chaubakon and Yokel, un- 
knowin' each other — not so much between 'em as a 
thawt ; yet here, through many windin' ways, you've 
brought 'em face to face together ; and see how merrily 
they fall to work, wastin' no more time in greetin' than 
a pair of well-trained dawgs. 

Lawful cuttin' and woundin', thou'rt a pretty art ! 
The firin's over — the clouds has rolled away to leeward 
— the battery's won. 

Let's step inside and take a glance around. Reely, 
the limbs and heads and eperlettes is so mixed up 
together, sir, that it's a puzzlin' thing to find our frends. 
Ah, there they are. ■" What, Yokel, man ! What, 
Chaubakon ! Leave off grippin' one anuther's throats 
in that spiteful fashion, lads ; the battle's over now." 
No arnser. Well, upon my word, on lookin' some- 
what closer at their sea-green faces in the moonlite, I 
find they're both stone dead. 

One beam of the moonlite is shinin' in a little cottage 
four hundred miles away — shinin' on two little children, 
prayin' with uplifted hands and eyes and harts, and 
their mother, with her head bowed down behind 'em. 
Her soul is also bowed, for something told her at the 
very moment that they clasped their hands together that 
what they're askin' for had passed beyond the reach of 
prayer. 

The gloreous battle's done. May the Power that 
holds all men as dust grains in the hollow of his hand 
grant it has not bin fought in vain ! Haply he that can 
make flowers spring out of dead men's graves will draw 
out of these square miles of gashed bodies some pre- 
cious froot of usefulness and buty for the coming 
time ; but let us hope it will be quite other froot than 
they looked for that did the plowin' and the sowin' of 
the seed ! 



CHIGNONS. 109 



CHIGNONS. 

[A correspondence appeared in the newspapers on the 
impurity of the hair used in the manufacture of chignons], 

^VrOU may guess into what a fever all these letters 
■*■ about chignons threw our famerly. Every mornin' I 
used to read em with increasin' horror, until, by the 
time I got to the end of the second column, I was in 
that uneasy state that I felt as frightened of goin' into 
society as if all my feller-creeturs was leapers. 

What was to be dun ? Arter long refleckshun I 
come to the conclusion that there was nothin' for it 
but to foller the example of the House o' Parlyment 
and stamp chignons out. It seemed to me that the 
macheenery for the destruction of the cattle pleg would 
do butifully for this purpus. England mite be divided 
into distriks, each under a Government inspector, which 
should have the power to forbid all suspected chignons 
moving from one parish to another, and to order all 
sich whose characters wouldn't bear investigation to be 
instantly destroyed. 

I mentioned the idee to Sarum, and he liked it much. 
But, sez he, "Property is a sacred thing, Mr. Sprouts. 
How about compensation to the owners of the slaugh- 
tered chignons ?" 

In less than a hour I was ringin' the bell at Benja- 
min's door. 

I walked into the study and found the old 'un sittin' 
alone weepin'. What strange contrasts there is in life ! 
" I didn't think I had toiled and toiled for this," he sez, 
holdin' up a newspaper. " The editor of Gamp's Mes- 
senger says the ' resolutions' is perfeckly intelligible. 
What a insult ! oh dear, oh dear !" 



110 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

I mentioned my plan to him. 

" It'll never do, Joe," he sez, shakin' his head. 
" The Radekals has took it into their heads to revise 
the Constitootion ; there'll be no more compensation for 
none on us this side o' the grave ; and if we was to 
propose it there'd be sure to be some one savin' it was 
agin the dictates of perlitekal economy •, besides, the 
hair question and the land question is two very different 
things." 

" Couldn't you put a clause in the new bill to punish 
all boroughs wearin' chignons by disfranchisement, or 
offer the vote to wimmen on condition of their leavin' 
'em off?" sez I. 

He said it would hardly do. In fack he wished me 
good mornin'. 

I went 'ome determined to deal with the monster as 
a privit pusson. The fust thing I did was to establish a 
strict kwarantine in my own home, so I posted a notis over 
the bell-pull that " all feemales wearin' chignons visitin' 
this house is requested to scrape their shoes, and to 
leave their artificial 'air on the mat." 

But we had two of the accursed things in the house 
— Betsy's and Martha the servant gal's ; for Palmyra 
was out of town. I burnt the gal's instantly, and paid 
her two-and-fippence compensation, which she said was 
the cost price of the article, includin' the stuffln' and 
the net. It was made of auburn horsehair, and died 
uncommon hard. 

Interval for refreshment. What's the difference be- 
tween a man's beard and a lady's back hair ? One's 
on the chin and the other's the chin-on (chignon). 
This hardly cost me a effort. 

But how to get at Betsy's ? That was the problem. 
How to rob the tiger of her young ; how to gather the 
honey while the bees was in the hive. As luck would 
have it, Brockey had come to visit me that afternoon. 
Under pretence of going in the stabel to look at Neddy, 
we talked it over ; and, at last, the two, or rayther the 



CHIGNONS, 111 

three on us together, hit upon a plan for disinfectin' 
Elizabeth's chignon ; for the poor beast seemed to 
interest himself in it with a sagacity beyond his years, 
as if he felt that if this horrid fashion wos kept up, his 
own time-honoured mane wouldn't be safe. 

I sent Brockey out for some chimikals, and to borrow 
the loan of a mikroscope, and when he came back we 
went in doors and sit there all the evenin', till at last 
Martha, arter closin' the shutters, went to bed, but 
Betsy remained, lookin' very uncomfortable at Brockey, 
as if she thought it was time for him to depart. 

" Are you goin' to stay here all night, Mr. Sprouts ?" 
she sez, when it had struck a quarter to twelve. 

" No," sez I, " but I have sum bizness to settle with 
Brockey, Mrs. Sprouts — perlitekal business." 

" Drat your bizniss," sez she, " I shall go to bed." 

She went. We sit quiet for above an hour and 
smoked, till at last there was a dead quietness in the 
house, as if everybody was fast asleep. " The hour is 
come," sez Brockey. 

I opened the door sauftly, took the tongs in my hand, 
and stole up stairs to my bedroom. I wonder how it 
is that stairs creak so when you disturb 'em late at night. 

Betsy was asleep, dreamin' of mantles, and mutterin' 
from time to time, as if she was havin' a quarrel with a 
linendraper. Her things was scattered about the room 
in graceful confusion ; here was a embroidered fall, 
there a corpulent pair of boots ; a bonnet was restin' 
on the mantelpiece, and on the drawers stood a chignon 
made of the best yeller Burlake's hair, as big as a half- 
quartern loaf — her chignon — the chignon. 

I seized it with the tongs, and the 'ateful thing seemed 
to know what was goin' to happen to it, for one or two 
of the hairs broke loose and curled uppards as if in 
fright. I took it down stairs. Brockey was ready to 
receive me. 

He had fetched the roastin'-jack from the kitchin and 
fixed it on the mantelpiece, and in a instant we had the 



112 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

chignon tied to the chain, and turnin' round slowly 
before a well-built fire. We then prepared to baste it 
with the follerin' chemical solution, warranted to carry- 
death and destrucktion to every livin' thing that sips it. 
A pint of Thames water, a wine-glass full o' Cape 
Sherry, a haporth o' milk, a little real French brandy 
at one and eight, a small piece of a London pork-pie, 
^oz. home-made pepper (Lambeth weight), a little 
popular sweets tuff, a box of patent pills, and sum 
genuine pickles. Caution to the public. None war- 
rantid unless stamped with our name and address. 

While the chignon was a-roastin' we sit and smoked, 
Brockey bastin' it from time to time. Two o'clock 
struck from a neighbourin' edifis — still we basted and 
smoked ; a quarter-past, half-past, a quarter to three, 
and then another hour was called. 

" I should think it's about done now," sez Brockey, 
pausin' with the ladle in his hand. 

" No," sez I fiercely. " Give it another hour. It's 
still anythink but tender in the middle. Baste on. 
Whatever is worth doin' is worth doin' well." 

As soon as four struck, the chignon seemed done to 
a turn, and we took it down and carefully dried it, and 
by this time it had turned a venerable grey. It's won- 
derful how sensitif the hair is to trouble ! 

After this we tied it to a hook in the ceilin', took 
our seats underneath, and set to a-smokin' of it like a 
ham. 

We smoked and talked for a long time, till at last 
Brockey dropped asleep, and I sit lookin' at him a little 
while, till a sort of drowsiness come over me, my pipe 
fell from my hand, and I, too, was in the land of 
dreams. 

How long I had been dreamin' I don't know, but 
suddintly I was awoke by a dreadful shriek, and Betsy 
stood before me in a. loose kind o' dress, starin' up at 
the chignon and ringin' of her hands. 

" Ruined ! ruined ! ruined !" sez she ; " and sich a 



THE WHITEBAIT DINNER. 113 

butiful match as never was. Oh, you thrice-dyed 
villins !" she sez to me and Brockey, which was also 
wide awake ; and . she ran to the fireplace and seized 
the tongs. 

" Salve key poo? sez I to Brockey. We waited for 
no more, but risin' hastily, we darted through the open 
door and fled to the stable, where we passed the re- 
mainder of the nite on sum hay. 

It appears that Elizurbeth had woke, and, not flndin' 
me, she had uttered a exclymation of surprize, and was 
jest goin' off to sleep agin when her eye fell upon the 
drawers and she missed the chignon. Concloodin' 
that somethin' serius had happened, she made her way 
downstairs, and fell upon us in the manner described. 
There was sum vilent things said next day, but what 
cared I ? — my house was pure. 



THE WHITEBAIT DINNER. 

[The dinner of the Conservative Cabinet at Greenwich 
in 1866.] 

Tl /FY life has bin a checkered up and down sort o* 
-^-*- thing, as full of lights and shadders as a draft 
board. 1 was born in a four-roomed cottij without a 
washus, yet I've lived in Belgriv-square : and when I 
got rid of the fortin as was left me, and all seemed lost, 
I was invitid to occupy a nest wich Ben and a few of 
the more venerable birds of the Conservatif paity had 
built for me as soon as they heard of my misfortin. 
Epsom laid the fust twig hisself — may he never moult 
a feather ! — and there I've roostid very comfortable ever 
since. As Benjamin said, " Do good to the landed 
interest in the time of your youth, Mr. Sprouts, and 
it'll return to yer after many days." 

1 



114 MR. SPROUTS EIS OPINIONS. 

And it has returned to me : I've never wantid clothes 
nor vittles since fust they took me up. IVe had the 
honour o' bein' appointed loan agent at one of their 
contested eleckshuns, and if the presint riots had con- 
tinued I should have received high command in the 
special constables ; then, I enjoys the friendship of the 
editor of one of the largest — p'raps the largest — daily 
paper in the world ; and I takes my beer every night 
with his principal contributor, and carries him up to 
bed arter he's writ his artikle ; and on Saturday last I 
eat whitebait with the Ministers at Mr. Quartermaine's, 
the Ship, off Greenwich Pier. 

The way it happened was this : I made a call on my 
friend the Home Sekketerry the other day to see if 
sumthing couldn't be done for the young feller as writ 
the report of the meetin' at the Agricultural Hall, which 
appeared in Gamp's Messenger on Toosday last : and 
havin' effected my objeck, I thanked the Sekketerry, and 
was about to go away when he pulled out of his pocket 
a carefully-sealed letter addressed to me, wich ran in 
these tarms : — 

"The Earl of Epsom's compliments to Mr. Sprouts, and 
he and his colleagues would feel honoured by Mr. Sprouts' 
company to dinner at Greenwich on Saturday next. 

" Whitebait." 

" Why, what's the meanin* o' this ?" sez I, as soon 
as I'd read it — " I ain't a colleague of Epsom's, much 
less one of the Ministers." 

" I beg yer pardon," sez Walpul, " you are what we 
calls a Minister without portfolio, and as sich entitled 
to be presint at our customary whitebait feast." 

" But what is whitebait ?" I sez. 

" Whitebait," sez the Minister, " is a spechy of sprat. 
It is not so large as that useful animal, but it is more 
delicious. It is fried in lard, and is very much respectid 
by the landed interest." 

" But," sez I, agin, " I almost think I'd better keep 



THE WHITEBAIT DINNER. 115 

away; I reely do. What will the editor of the 
Messenger say to it ? I shall never have the fase to 
look him in the fase agin." 

" The editor of the Messenger has not bin forgotten, 
Mr. Sprouts," sez he, " hisself and his feller missionaries 
will be treated to a supper of sprats hot from the 
gridiron in the very same tavern where we takes our 
reparst." 

This satisfied me, and after sheddin' a tear with the 
Sekketerry — our custom alius of an arternoon — I took 
my leaf, and promised to jine 'em on the appointed day. 

Well, as soon as Saturday came round I went down 
to Westminster, and, sure enufF, there they was all 
assembled to the number of some forty-three, and I was 
presented to them as didn't know me in proper form. 
Arter a little friendly chat, we debarked on one of the 
Citizen steamboats, the very same on which I've fetched 
up many a load of winkles in days gone by •, and off 
we steamed for Greenwich. The fust ten minutes was 
dull — it alius is till you've got used to the motion of the 
bote, but when we'd got past London Bridge we'd all 
settled down into our places, and all went merry as the 
movements of a grig. Me and Benja nin and the First 
Lord of the Admiralty had clambered up on one of the 
paddleboxes, where we could see everybody and every- 
body could see us. Cranborne was a-tryin' to get up a 
quarrel about navigation with the man at the wheel, 
and the Woods and Forests had retired to the cabin of 
the vessel to write a ode on the properties of the steam- 
tug. The Home Sekketerry went abaft watchin' the 
moisture comin' out of the steam-pipe ; Epsom was on 
the bridge along with the capting, takin' his advice 
about the best method of keepin' clear of shoals ; and 
his child was seated on the binnacle, as good as gold, 
readin' the instruckshuns for the game of correspon- 
dence in the " Boys' Own Book." The rest was 
dispersed about the bote. The War Sekketerry bein' 
out of temper okkypide a paddle-box to hisself, where 



116 MR, SPROUTS Elb OPINIONS. 

he kep up a continyual groul till we got alongside of 
Greenwich Pier. 

As soon as we entered the Ship the fust thing we see 
was the " door list," with the names and addresses or 
all the people as was goin' to have their dinner there 
that day ; and this was how it run : — 

" Henry Blankington, Esq. The Ellums, Blackheath 
Park. 6. 

"Her Majesty's Ministers and Mr. Sprouts. 7.30." 

Then up sidled the manager, bowin* like the man 
that takes the money in the Marionette show, and we 
follered him upstairs ; and when we got to the second 
flight, there, sure enuff, was sich a blaze of glory as 
yew don't orfen see outside of Cremorne. In each ot 
the corners of the large room was a little table laid out 
most graceful with knik knackeries and flowers, and in 
the middle was a kind of hoss-shoe shape, with about 
forty chairs around it — (I once red a Arabian story with 
exactly forty people in it) — and loaded with solid silver 
dishes, full of pineapples and grapes and grapes and 
pineapples in butiful konfusion. The view from the 
winders was magnifisent ; to the right on us was the 
venerable hospital, filled with weather-beaten sailors, a 
nussiri' of their wooden legs ; and to the left, Schultz's 
photographic studio, a wooden structure of the early 
settlers' order of architecture, and, beyond that, ships 
and pleasure-boats a-ridin' on the bosom of the coppery 
Thames completed the prospeck. We took our seats 
without any sort of order, except that Epsom placed 
hisself at the bend of the hoss-shoe, and I got as near 
as I possibly could to Benjamin and the Home Sekke- 
terry, almost the only people I really vally in this vale 
of tears. The eatin' was good • but the whitebait was 
a deloosion, my share of the plunder bein' nothing but 
five tiny little critters, which was simply sprats not yet 
arrived at years of discretion. However, I made up 
for it with other things, and by the time the cloth was 
removed I felt on the very best of terms with myself 



THE WHITEBAIT DINNER. 117 

and everybody about me. There was a bit of a bother, 
owin' to one of the waiters arskin' Adderley if he 
would take a little jugged Eyre, though there was no 
mention of it in the bill ; but on the manager comin' 
forward the matter was very comfortably settled by the 
feller receivin' a instant discharge, he bein' a Radikal as 
had somehow crept in by mistake, like a earwig into 
one of the Wimbledon tents. 

Arter " The Queen and the Royal Family" and " The 
Constitootion and Sir Richard Mayne," Epsom riz, 
with a very beamin' eye, to propose " Our noble 
selves." " My goodniss," sez he, " only to think how 
little conneckshun there was between us and whitebait 
this time larst year, and then to look at us, surroundid 
as we are with the loaves and fishes now. And bear in 
mind, gentlemen," he sez, " we have got these fishes 
and them loaves, not by seekin' arter em, but by sittin' 
patient on the sea shore and whistlin' while they quietly 
swum into our nets. (Cheers.) For my part," he sez, 
" I would rayther have had a quiet herrin' any day ; 
but then what was I to do ? I couldn't abear the patient 
look in your uncomplainin' faces meekly arskin' me for 
whitebait every time the season come round, and arskin' 
me in vain. (Applaus.) Proud as I am to see yer all," 
he sez, " I should have bin prouder to have seen certain 
parties as might ha' bin takin' their glarse along with us 
if they'd understood their books — I mean the dwellers 
in the Kave. (Cheers.) But I piped to 'em, gentlemen, 
and they would not darnce. (Thumpin'.) The only 
fault I've got to find with yew, on the contrairy, is that 
you darnce too much. I have obsarved onhappy 
divisions among yer, short a time as we have bin 
together ; Malmesbury has bin anything but good- 
natured to my little boy •, and Peel and Cranborne's 
treatment of Walpul simply bekos he fell into the error 
of indulgin' in a drop too much has bin very hurtful to 
my feelins. Gentlemen, that Sekketerry is a honor to 
his sex. He has developed noo buties in our Consti- 



118 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

tootion by showin' how it can elevate a perleeseman 
into a lawyer. I might go on to extend that praise to 
everyone on yer • but I'm sure I could say nothing on 
that subjek that you haven't already said to yourselves. 
But I must make one excepshun — my frend, our frend — 
Josef Sprouts." (Thunders of applaus.) u That name," 
he sez, " is enough to put a edge upon the vokal organs 
of the most smooth-tongued chief. Joe," he sez fondly 
— "yes, I may call him Joe — our Joe — is a self-raised 
man ; his history ought to be a lessen to every aspirin' 
youth that, however unfavourable may be a man's early 
cirkumstances, it is impossible for destiny to chain him 
down to winkles aginst his will. I shall say no more ; 
forgive this fulness. I call upon you to drink the toast 
I have given, kuppling with it the health of the gentle- 
man I have named." (Tremendus cheerin.) 

My reply was brief, but exhaustiv' — I shall not give 
it. I wound up by proposin' "The Heads of Depart- 
ments," which was very appropriately responded to by 
the Woods and For rests. 

Arter that, some one called on Benjamin for a speech, 
but he sed he should prefer to show 'em a magical trick, 
commonly known as " The surplus and deficit puzzle, 
or Gladstone's defeat." It consisted of puttin' fourpence 
in terminable annuities into a hat borrowed from one of 
the company, shakin' 'em up, and cryin' out " Presto !" 
and then in the twinklin' of an eye bring out a bran new 
thrippenny bit. " There's no deception, gentlemen," 
sez Ben, a shakin' of his cuffs, "the surplus is gone. 
It's the quickness of the hand deceives the eye ;" and he 
sit down amid a pufteck storm of apprybation. 

The War Sekketerry had bin watchin' this with a 
very envious snigger, and it was hardly over before he 
offered to show 'em a very ingenius thing with a 
common domestick table-knife; fust you put a new 
handle to it, and then a new blade, and when that was 
over yew had a thoroughly converted implement at not 
more than half as much agin as the cost of a bran new 



THE WHITEBAIT DINNER. 119 

weapon from the cutler's shop. "The slite additional 
cost, gentlemen," he sez, "is the price we pay for the 
ingenooity of the convarsion." He was much con- 
gratulated. 

When order was sumwhat restored, and the hat and 
knife had bin returned to their owners, up riz Adderley, 
glarse in hand, and sez he, " The toast I have now the 
honor to propose, gentlemen, is that of the British Army, 
couplin' with it the name of Marshal Law. (Cheers.) 
My frend is unhappily absent from England at the pre- 
sent time," he sez, " havin'been lately stayin' in Jamaky, 
but he has bin sent for, and we expect him every mail. 
We had hoped," he sez, " to have seen him before this 
ridin' in Hyde Park on his old familiar high hoss ; but 
we was disappointed, partly owin' to some strange 
prejudice agin him on the part of the army — which we 
hope to remove — and partly owin' to the unreasonin' 
violence of the English people, who alius have a strange 
fancy for illegally detainin' railins whenever he appears. 
(Groans.) There is some consolation, however, gentle- 
men, in knowin' that the Marshal is alius safe under the 
protecting shield of the British House of Commons — 
(loud cheers) — that House whose glory it has ever bin 
to defend the oppressed agin the oppressor, and to see 
that righteousness and judgment go hand-in-hand." 
(Three times three, Kentish fire, etsettery, and more 
wine ordered up on the spur of the moment.) 

A recitation from the Earl of Epsom — " The Hoss 
Chesnut and the Chesnut Hoss." 

An interval for conversashun. Cranborne told Ben- 
jamin he couldn't understand the business of the Indy 
Department — it seemed to be all rupee. " Ah," sez 
Benjamin, " you'll take away the R before you've done 
with it, Robert, mark my words." 

Another feat of agility. Imparshal letter written in 
six languages by the Earl of Epsom's child handed 
round for inspecshun. (N.B. All done after orfis hours 
and with a common magnum-bony pen.) 



120 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

Then we ordered up sum more wine, and the fun 
grew fast and furious, with jest and song and cuttin' 
jibes. Benjamin played some variations on his fork, 
Epsom give us another recitation ; and Naas tried a 
Irish jig, though not with perfeck suksess, owin' to his 
not havin' recovered the effects of the rollin' of the 
vessel ; and then we all began to turn our faces home- 
ward, and departed for the bote. Somebody remarked 
that the Lord President walked with decidedly a Buck- 
ingham gait ; but he was not the only one. Howsum- 
ever, we all got very comfortably aboard, and off we 
steamed, feelin' considerable easier in our minds than 
when we started. The First Lord of the Admiralty 
would insist on takin' command of the vessel, and as it 
was considered best to humour him he was allowed to 
do so. Then, as we skidded through the darkness 
come the soft strains, " In this old chair," arranged as 
a glee, and sung by Cairns and Chelmsford and Bovill, 
seated in the cabin — Chelmsford leadin'. Sentimental 
singin' is not Cairns's fort — his face ain't made for it. 
The Home Sekketerry was full of sperrits, and run 
about makin' his jokes at everybody's expense, and we 
was in the midst of life and fun when the bote went 
full butt on to a snag, that shook us all in a very sickly 
way, and sent the Admiral's hat over by the board, and 
it sunk to rise no more. Epsom comin' up out of the 
cabin behind a big cigar, was met by Walpul, who 
wouldn't throw away this chance of havin' a fling at his 
old enemy who was sittin' on the taffrail most bitterly 
ringin' his hands. "He, he, he," sez he, "here's 
Pakington bin and lost his hat." " Better than losin' 
his head, Mr. W. — better than losin' his head," says 
Epsom, like a flash of lightnin', and the pore old feller 
was so cut up at this sudden visitation that he retired 
to the after part of the vessel, and I see him no more. 
However, twenty new hats was offered to Pakington in 
the twinklin' of a eye, and then I observed a singular 
natural phenomenon — he took the first that came at 



THE TRADES' DEMONSTRATION. 121 

random, and it fitted him ; for why, bekos the heads of 
this Administration is all precisely of the same size 
(short sixes). 

We got to Westminster stairs without any further 
mishap, and arter much hand-shakin' parted with a very 
erly appointment to meet agin. I riz somewhat late 
en the morrer, but it was not idleness — -it was iced 
punch. 



THE TRADES' DEMONSTRATION. 

[The first of the great London Trades' Demonstrations 
for Reform took place on the 3rd December, 1866. Before 
that day many ill-founded apprehensions as to the results of 
the demonstration, and the aims of those who took part in it, 
were expressed in certain quarters.] 

^pHIS is a famous time for statistiks. We have returns 
■*- of all kinds, from the number of runs, stops, and 
byes of all the cricket-matches of the season to the 
number of babies born with a kast in their eye ; but 
there is one more I should very much like to see, and 
that is a return of all the Tories that is sorry they didn't 
pass the Reform Bill of 1866. Ever since that unfortnit 
measure was smothered, our party's bin kind o' sleepin' 
on bread crumbs, and has never known a moment's 
quiet repose. There has bin fireworks everywhere — 
in Birmingham, in Leeds, in Manchester and Glasgow, 
in Edinburgh and Dublin, and now they've bin a lettin' 
of 'em off in London. Alas ! feller workin' men, if you 
goes on in this rampagious way 'ow can you expect the 
world to last till 1 868 ? 

Direckly Walpul heerd of the comin' flare-up of these 
pizonous Trades' Unions, he sent round the follerin' 
circular to a few frends of the good old cause : — 



122 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" Downing-street, Nov. the 5th. 
" Sir, — Your attendance is rekwested at a experience meetin' 
of the frends of the Tory party, to be held in the Little 
Swimmin' Bath, Davis-street, Portman-square, on the tenth 
instant. Tickits, including tea and cake, sixpence a piece, 
with appropriate musick on the organ — harmonium, and other 
amoosements. Yours kindly, 

"A. W." 

I flew down to the Baths, and got there jest as tea 
was over, and found the manager of one of our most 
poppylar tea-gardings on his legs. He said he was 
prepared to sacrifice everythink for safety, like the man 
pursood by the bear ; but at the same time they must 
excuse him if he parted with what was least vallyable 
fust — namely, his word. (Hoorays.) 

He was follered by the editor of the Weathercock, 
who gave a drawing-room entertainment called " Vicey 
Versey ; or, Ringin the Changes." It was very simple. 
He produced a sheet of common writin'- paper, on which 
was painted five specks of black ; he then touched 'em 
with his quill, and they instantly became as white 
as milk ; after which he turned some white spots into 
black ones in the same way. But it was remarked that 
he was more sukcessful in blackenin' white cullers than 
in whitenin' black ones. 

The editor o' Gajnp's Messenger sent a excuse. He 
was bizzy havin' some coals in, but he wished well to 
the cause. 

After a few earnest, thoughtful, and logikal remarks 
from the editor of the largest daily paper in the world, 
for which he made no other charge than his cab fare, 
there was a call for 

Sprouts, who said it was idle to go on talkin' and 
plannin' unless they knowed what their enemies was a 
goin' to do. What was wanted was somebody to go as 
a spy into their meetins and find it all out. Who'd 
volunteer ? He had some connection with the press. 



THE TRADES' DEMONSTRATION. 123 

One press man was worth two volunteers. He'd go 
hisself. (Wild dancin', and cries of " Saved.") 

The day arter this I went down in disguise to the 
meetin' of the Trades' Council. I was very respektably 
dressed, but I couldn't help feelin' a little nervous, for 
I knew that on the slightest suspicion as to my indem- 
nity these pizonous beins would have put me inside 
a can of gunpowder and blowed me into sawdust in 
their usual way. When I got to the house I walked 
down a long passij with a fierce expression on my face, 
as if I lived on babies, and this carried me parst the 
fust warder on guard all right. I then come to a flight 
o' steps which led into a big vault, like a magnified coal- 
cellar, with cells all round, where all the poor beins 
that had refused to strike for an extry threea'pence an 
hour was confined in chains. At the end of this vault 
was another long passij, and at the end of this a dore, 
guarded by a ferocious tailor, who loudly demanded 
the password, 

« Guy Fox," sez I. 

" Kim in," sez he, and in another instant I stood face 
to face with the secret Council of the Trades. 

They was so bizzy discussin' when I got in that they 
didn't notice me, so I meekly sit down upon a barrel of 
gunpowder, and soon learnt all about their proceedins 
on the comin' 3rd of December. All was to be fair 
and kwiet till they got possession of Hyde Park ; they 
was to advance along Piccadilly singin' hymns and 
smilin' at the perleesemen, each man carryin' a sprig of 
olive in his right hand, a common domestick poker up 
his sleeve, and a box o' congreves in his pocket ; but as 
soon as they got inside the inclosure the sprigs of olive 
was to be thrown away and the pokers was to be brought 
out, and at the same time the bands was to strike up 
the " Drawback" and other revolutionary toons to 
hound 'em on to destruction. Detachmints was then 
to hurry off and capter the Tower, Hodges' Distillery, 
Barclay, Perkins, and Co.'s Entire and Fine Ales, the 



124 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

Thames Tunnel, and other points of importance. Then 
the National Gallery, the Strand Musick Hall, and the 
statty in Lester-sqware was to be blown up with 
paraffine, and the Coal Hole and Waterloo Bridge, and 
all other places where the publick is excluded from 
enterin' by a fee, was to be burnt, and their hashes 
scattered to the winds •, arter which the leadin' members 
of the Council was to draw lots in a hat as to who 
should be proclaimed Emperor o' London. At the 
same time, all the principal tradesmen was to be sus- 
pended in payment outside their own doors, preference 
bein' given to sich as had anythink down in their books 
agin the friends of the poppylar cause. When I heerd 
of this last regilation I must say I was very near jining 
'em, for I can't see no other way of settlin' some of the 
pussons as is continyally fancyin' I owe 'em money, 
except by hangin' of 'em up. 

I hurried off to Government with the news, and then 
this curius fact came out, that, arter all our talk, we 
hadn't got the force to put 'em down if they was dis- 
posed to be rampagious. What was to be done ? Of 
course they all fell to quarrellin' among theirselves, 
that bein' the best way o' savin' a sinkin' ship. Ben 
said he wished that Cranborn had never come of age, 
and Cranborn called Ben a relick of a faded parst ; 
until I stepped in and purposed that Government should 
keep on denyin' the Reformers everythink they asked 
for, until p'raps at last they'd be starved out and give it 
up altogether ; or else they should offer 'em Primrose 
Hill, bekos accordin' to the charakter of 'em given by 
some of the noosepapers, them as went there would be 
sure to be attracted by the gymnasium, and get givin' 
one another swings and play at roundabouts till they 
forgot all about Reform, and the few as did remember 
it would be too winded by the time they got to the top 
of the hill to waste their breath in argyments and 
speechis. 

Well, they took my adwice, but findin' the creeturs 



THE TRADES DEMONSTRATION, 125 

still persevered, we was in a rare quandary, till luckily 
they asked Ranelay to let 'em have his grounds. " Let 
'em have 'em by all means," sez I, " we must play 
sumthing, and it's about the only trump now left in our 
hands." You all knows what follered. By the bye, 
that was a capital joke of Ranelay 's about the wall 
poles. It ought to be a answer to everybody as talks 
about Reform ; it shows what stuff our governin' 
classes is made of. 

I had sevril seats offered me at the varus clubs on 
Monday, but I deklined 'em all. I thought it was better 
to wander about like a bird or a bee, and twig the 
behayviour of the crowd. The fust place I went to 
was the Mall. There was certainly a great number of 
well-dressed pussons in the ranks there, and they was 
also orderly, though that was their cunnin' ; but as the 
editor of the largest daily paper in the world remarked 
to me, most on 'em showed their indifference to Reform 
by eatin' apples while they was a-waiting for the pro- 
cession to start. u These signs, Mr. Sprouts," he sez, 
" lyin' as they does beneath the surfice, speaks more to 
the practised eye than all the banners and all the 
speeches." And I told him " Yes." We then walked 
out into Waterloo-place, and presintly the head of the 
procession made its way towards us. I'm not goin' to 
deny but what it was pretty, and the brass bands 
sounded well ; but that's all them Radekals has got to 
boast of, for when you tries 'em at argymint you finds 
'em very shaky on their legs. For instant, there was a 
very vilent pusson near me screamin' with grate joy as 
trade arter trade hev in sight, till I reely begun to feel 
sorry for him, and sez I : 

" Are you in favour of Reform, young feller ?" 

" I am," sez he. 

" But don't yer think it is a pity," sez I, " for a man 
to lose a day's work in tryin' to promote it, when he 
might be puttin' of the same into the mouth of his 
hungry wife and babes ?" 



126 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

He was silent for a long time, as if sum change was 
a-goin' on in his system, and then he took his pipe from 
his mouth and said silently, " Thank yew, sir ; there 
is nothink like contack with a origernal mind. I con- 
fess I had never looked at it in that light afore. Ah," 
he sed, " if them words had only bin spoke to me at 
sum earlier period of my hist ry, I might have bin a 
Markwis now." 

I'm glad I thought of this argyment — it's one of two 
with which you're sure to floor every Reformer. If he 
goes to demonstrations, sez you, "What a sin it is to 
take the money away from your wife and babes !" and 
if he don't go sez you, "What's the vally of Reform 
when you won't even spend upon it so much as the 
price of a day's work ?" It is a safe argyment, particy- 
larly sooted for parlour entertainments at the houses of 
the nobilerty and gentry. 

There was a old gentleman with spektekles on a 
standing near me, and he kep fidgettin' about so that I 
felt sure he was uneasy in his mind, and I couldn't help 
speakin' a word of comfort to him. " Do you feel 
kindly towards Reform demonstrations, sir ?" sez I. 

" No, sir," he sez, " I have very strong objections 
to 'em — frenologekal objections, sir," he sez, pullin' off 
his hat and slappin' a splendid pair of temples. " All 
the pussons that takes part in 'em seems to have sich 
very low brows." 

" But," sez I, pintin' to a hossman who was pullin' 
off his hat to the Reform Club, " yonder cavaleer seems 
to have a magnificent forhead." 

" He has shaved for it, sir," he sez — " he has shaved 
for it. It is scarcely posserble to git anythink like a 
brow under a ten-pound rental," he continnied, puttin' 
on his hat, " and yet they demand manhood sufFrige 
and the ballot." 

I hope that none of the papers '11 use this argyment, 
bekos it's copyrite. By the advise of the editor of the 
Messenger, I've had it entered at Stationers' 'All. 



THE TRADES' DEMON STRA1 ION. 127 

It was melankoly to look at the faces of the perlice 
while the procession was a goin' by. Their okkypation 
was gone; they looked like a mother-in-la w the day 
the new wife comes into the house. One on em as I 
had known in happier times come up to me, unbuckled 
his truncheon from his side, and placed it in my 
hand. 

" Here, take it," Mr. Sprouts," he sez, " take it. It 
has always tasted blood on demonstration days, but 

now " and he put his richly-dekorated cuff up to 

his face, and wiped away a tear that would have done 
credit to the Eye Infirmary. 

a We have bin betrayed, Mr. Sprouts," said another 
active and intelligent orfiser. " Beyond pullin' the hair 
of a few boys, these hands have done nothink to earn 
their livin' all this blessed day. The service is a goin' 
to the devil." 

And now squadron arter squadron hurried past us 
with their banners : True Britons and Seamen, and 
Tailors and Bricklayers, and Foresters and Painters, and 
Odd Fellows and Old Friends — some of 'em playin' the 
most insultin' toons. There was labour a defyin' o' 
capital, and capital not allowed to throw a stone. It 
was a sad sight. 

" We're not to be intimmydated by numbers," said a 
scornful bottled-beer merchant, a stampin' of his foot, 
as the standard of the Corkcutters came in view. 

But the band swep proudly by, playin', "When we 
went out a shootin'," and the brave feller's protest was 
lost upon the crowd. 

I had hoped that the day would parse away without 
any vilense done to anybody's feelins. but it was not to 
be, for while the Shoemakers was a goin' by, a ill- 
mannered creetur among 'em fixed his eye on me, and 
sez he, " How d'ye do, Sprouts ? I should feel obliged if 
you could pay me the money for them shiny boots you 
ordered for the Lord Mayor's dinner." It was a most 
unseasonable remark, for I was standin' among a lot of 



128 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

capitalists at the time, and they began to look as if they 
thought I had bin a deceivin' of 'em. 

" Sum people is very rude, sir, especially demmy- 
crats," sez a very respectable-lookin' man, in a white 
aprin, who was standin' at my elber. 

"They are indeed," sez I, touched by the feelin' 
tones in which he spoke. " But how is it you are not 
marchin' along with the procession ?" 

" Bekos," he sez, " sir, I am agin their principles. I 
have suffered greatly. I am a poor and a numble man. 
I have bin out of work twelve years, and durin' that 
time my wife and famerly has scarcely tasted food, but 
I am no leveler." 

"Dear me," said the editor of Gamp, pullin' out his 
note-book, " what a interestin' case. You are indeed a 
moddle that ought to be held up for imitation. And is 
it possible that you have never repined at your lot ?" 

"No, sir," sed the mechanick proudly, "I 'ope I 
know my dooty to my superiors better than that. I 
have never knowed what symperthy was till now, sir," 
he continued, " and I will show you that, poor as I am, 
I can be grateful for it. Do you want to buy the tickit 
for a watch ?" 

The editor of the Messenger closed his book, and 
soon arter the procession closed itself, and we went 
'ome. 

How it all parsed ofF without any disturbance I can't 
think, but p'raps they found out at the last moment that 
we'd discovered their plans. It is pleasin' to know, 
howsumever, that ample means was took agin a risin'. 
As soon as the slightest alarm had bin given, the lids of 
all the coal-cellars in Waterloo-place would ha' bin 
removed, and a perleeseman would ha' sprung out of 
every hole, The horse of the Dook o' Wellington at 
High Park Corner was full on 'em, and so was the one 
in Lester-skware, and severil cartloads of straw was 
kep movin' along the line of route, with a full-blooded 
orfiser in every truss. If this had not been enuff, sum 



MR. DOULTONS MEETING. 129 

Sikh soldiers would ha bin sent for, bekos " they'll go 
anywhere and do any think at the biddin' of their 
orfisers," and our own fellers can't alius be relied on to 
the same extent. 



MR. DOULTON'S MEETING. 

[Mr. Doulton, one of the members for Lambeth, wishing 
to give an account of his Parliamentary stewardship, invited 
his constituents to meet him in a hall at Walworth. The 
meeting was held amid great confusion, for many persons 
thought that an attempt had been made to pack the hall with 
Mr. Doulton's supporters.] 

" TOSEF," says the deservin' member for Lambeth to 
J me the other day — I mean our member, not the 
other one — "Josef," he sez, " we must have a meetin' 
of our supporters — a publick meetin\ Everybody's 
havin' meetins now. In fack, no party is compleat 
without 'em." 

" Yes, sir," I sez, (He is the only man in these 
relms that I calls " Sir." I'm obliged to do it — there 
is a darin' about him that faskinates me.) 

" And I should like you to take the manijment of 
it," sez he. 

" Yes, sir," sez I agin. 

" Make it," he sez, soarin' uppards with his hand — 
" make it a model meetin'. Ourn is a newly-invented 
party — we must also have newly-invented meetins. 
Don't let it be too publick," he sez ; " I alius feel as if 
I was sittin' in a draft when I'm attendin' a publick 
meetin' ; and be sure that you don't keep any pusson 
out that is well disposed towards me bekos he happens 
to be unfortunit in life. Heavin forbid," he added, 
with grate feelin', " that the poorest taller-chandler 
that serves my house with candles should be preventid 
from givin' a independent verdick on my public con- 
ic 



130 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

duck bekos he happens to wear a greasy coat. Let all 
my tradesmen come," he sed, growin' more intense 
every moment ; " also my gallant factory boys, and if 
you sees any other deservin' pusson that would like to 
meet me, but is kep away from motifs of delicasy, lend 
him five pounds." 

" But how am I to git the money, my lord ?" I sez. 
(It's astonishin' how one's respeck keeps risin' for that 
man the longer one sits in his kumpany — he takes sich 
origernal views of things.) 

" Ah ! I forgot that," sez he. " It's to be a spon- 
taneous tribute to my publick conduck, of course. 
Well, I shan't give you no money, but if you choose to. 
go and take some out of that bag inside my writin'- 
desk, why, it's no bizniss of mine. We will call it the 
spontaneous fund," he sez, smilin', " and you may go to 
it as often as you like ; only lay it out well." 

" Your Highness may rely upon me," sez I. "I 
pledge my word to " 

" Don't give no pledges, Joe," he sez, with a sickly 
smile ; " pledges is such binding things on the con- 
science that tney keeps a uprite man in a continyal state 
of anxiety to fulfil 'em. No," he sez, " I do not wish 
any independent pusson that comes down to support 
me to be bound by a pledge — not even a temperance 
pledge," he added, puttin' a little more sugar in his 
whisky. 

And this is the man they akkuse of kruelty to animals. 

Soon arter that I went away. My fust duty was to 
find a hall to fill ; the second, to find the people to fil] 
it. I scampered all over the town, and looked at severil 
halls. Some was too big — we wanted a snug place ; 
some had no reserved seats — and we wanted a good 
many o' them. One where they held meetins for the 
propagation of truth wouldn't take us in for some 
unakountable reason ; and we was a day too late for 
another, as the " Sersiety for the Abolition of Stupidity" 
had engaged it the day before ; the sekkyterry of the 



MR. DOULTON'S MEETING. 131 

sersiety was very civel, and wanted to give a lektur' on 
my life and times, but I couldn't wait. At larst, up in 
the wilds of Walworth, I found a splendid little retreat 
to let, and I took it for Thursday night. 

" May I ask for what purpus' you wants it, sir ?" 
sez the sekkyterry, as soon as I had paid the deposit- 
money. 

" A lectur' by Mr. Stafford," sez I. (This was the 
dark to Doulton's attorney.) And he rote it down 
in his book. You see every think dependid on keeping 
the objeck of the meetin' quiet, or we should have had 
a ugly rush of Lib'rals as soon as the doors was opened, 
and no room for the deservin' poor with tickits ; and 
yet I should be obliged to advertise it too, bekos it was 
a publick meeting. How to keep a publick meetin' 
privit', that was the problim. 

I then hurried off to the printer, and ordered the 
tickits and the bills, with the notis of the meetin', and 
he promised to have some on 'em ready in a couple of 
hours. Some of his men, with all the rash impulsifness 
of bill-stickers, wanted to begin plasterin' em over the 
town as soon as they was reddy. But "No," sez I, 
" plenty o' time to post 'em on the night of the meetin' ; 
that'll be quite notis enuff ; the stars never makes their 
appearance till darkness sets in — why should we try to 
be wiser than them ?" Also I sez, "When they are 
posted do not get coverin' every publick boarding with 
'em in your ushel vain-glorious way, but carry 'em, like 
the other blessins o' knowledge, into the shadiest places 
— railway-arches, for instant — and if you sees a de- 
serted coal-barge that seems to be pinin' for companion- 
ship, plant one there ;" and they said they would. I 
waited for the tickits, and took 'em away with me at 
once. 

Somehow or other, quiet as the meetin' had been 
kept, the news of it got about among the frends of the 
party, for as soon as I got home I found the follerin' 
letter a-waitin' for me on the dresser •— 



132 MR. SFROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" St. Martin' s-lane. 

"Nathaniel Langham's compliments to Mr. Sprouts, and 
he has a few unconverted frends who would like to attend 
the meetin' on Thursday next. Weight from eight stone to 
twelve. They feel that their mission is to stem the tide of 
demokrisy. BeWs Life to be stakeholder. 

"Sparrin* as usual in the big room every Saturday and 
Monday night. — So no more at present from yours truly, 

" ioth December.' ' 

I hurried off to St. Martin's-lane immejutly arter 
supper, and was intryduced to Nathaniel's friends. 
They was sittin' round the fire smokin', in deep thawt, 
and they welcomed me with a modist grunt, for they 
are men of very few words. One was studyin' Alum's 
" Constitootional History," another was cryin' over the 
poems of Edgar Poe, a third was knittin' a pair o' braces 
as a birthday present for his father, and a fourth was 
larnin' Jarman, so that he might be able to read " Faust," 
as he had took a likin' to that tragedy bekos it was 
spelt so much like " Fist." By a curious coinsidence 
all on 'em had fallen downstairs in infansy and hurt 
their noses, but they was strong-faced-lookin' men. I 
was pleased to see that none of 'em wore high for- 
heads, which is getting very common now that the 
Radekals has took to 'em. In fack, high forheads is 
low. Instid of them, they had kind of double-breasted 
heads, with a bump on each side and a dent in the 
middle. 

" They don't look very lively at presint," sez Na- 
thaniel, pintin' to 'em with his fist, "but they'll be all 
right when they're shook. There's plenty o' talent 
in 'em, but it kind o' sinks down, and they're nothin' 
till they're stirred." 

I advarnced to one on 'em and give him a gentle 
shake, whereupon he roused hisself, and, openin' a 
lovely little green eye, prepaired to listen. 

" I'm a-goin' to speak to you about a very important 
matter, my frend," sez I. " What is your prinserples ?" 



MR. DOULTON'S MEETING. 133 

"Ten shillins for the evenin', and my beer," he 
sez. 

" Thank you," says I. " Are you addicted to the 
ballinse of power, the just claims of property and 
intelligence, the welfare of the House of Lords, the 
preservation of the Establishment in Ireland, a well- 
dijested skeme of Reform, church rates, short leases, 
and Sikh soldiers ?" 

He said he was, but a good deal depended on the 
beer. 

Arter this highly satisfactory arnser I give 'em tickets 
all round, and floo off to Lambeth to the dwellins of 
the deservin' poor. I found em anxious to come if 
they could only be pervided with their cab fare, which 
I pervided them at once. One virtuous clean old man, 
in pertickler, was very eager. " I should like to be 
presint, and sacrifise my hat in the cause by tossin' it in 
the air/' he sez ; " but there will be no merrit in sacri- 
fising this one," he added, pintin' to a battered beaver 
that he was usin' as a coal-scuttle, "and I have no 
other." 

I at once gave him the money for one of Christie's 
best, and then I went off home. The next day was 
spent in selectin' the men from the factory at Lambeth 
— a very ticklish job ; but the manijer said he thought 
he knew where to put his hand on the right ones, and 
I left it to him. 

And now the glorius Thursday, the day of the 
meeting, dawned. I was up betimes, and darted off to 
order sum banners with appropriat motters, and to 
distribbit the remainder of the tickits for the reserved 
seats ; and towards nightfall I ordered and sent out the 
gay billstickers to post up the publik notis of the 
meetin'. They posted 'em well, and there was no 
excuse for the Lib'rals to complane as they didn't know 
of what was a-goin' to take place. At least twenty was 
stuck up under the Adelfy Arches. Two was on the 
statty in Lester-sqware, and each of our supporters was 



134 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

asked to take one and make it as publick as he could 
without distressin' of hisself. 

The hour of six now approached (the meetin' had 
been called at sevin to suit the convenience o' the 
workin' classes), and a privit door was thrown open to 
admit the tickit-holders to the reserved seats. It was 
guarded by perleesemen, and the enlightened public 
passed in butifully in the follering order : — 

Me. 

A few of the deservin' poor (well sorted). 

Pottery lambs, with their fugleman. 

Banners breathin defiance. " Cave Canem" (Beware 

of the Cane) ; " Please to Remember the Grotto," 

et cettery. 

Independent tradesmen who supply the hon. member 

with coals, bread, candles, et cettery. . 

The Waiter that wrote to the Editor of the Advertiser 

to tell him he'd bin hit by a fallin' star in 

Shoe-lane. 

Nathaniel Langham's Chickings, all in deer-stalkers' hats. 

A few respectable people. 

By the time we got comfortably seated, the front 
dores was thrown open to the general publick, and then 
in rushed the turbulint demokrisy in much larger num- 
bers than I expectid, considerin the time they had to 
find it out. And of course some on 'em begun to 
grumble bekos they had only standin' room, and not 
enuf o' that — as if the place could be all reserved seats. 
At length, punktilly at the hour of seven, the hon, 
member for Lambeth walked upon the platform, and 
his appearance was the signal for one of the most 
enthoosiastic demonstrations I ever had the pleasure to 
twig. 

The fugleman of the pottery boys waved his stick 
three times, and immejutly arter the third stroke each of 
his gallant followers removed the baccy from his mouth 
and shouted out " Hooraw." At the same time the 



MR. DOULTONS MEETING, 135 

twelve chickings of Nathaniel uttered the same pleasin' 
sound. I skreamed it, the deservin' poor bellered it, 
and the independent tradesmen roared it out at the top 
of their voises, and banged their umbrellies on the floor. 
So far so good ; but as soon as we paused for wind, 
the Radekal demons in the background began sich a 
screamin' and hissin' that the place was like a saucepan 
full o' snakes, and the hon. member threw a witherin' 
look upon me which I shall never forgit. At the same 
time one on 'em held aloft a banner with " Ecco Homo" 
upon it, and in vain we arnsered em with " Cave Canem," 
and shook a stick at em. They didn't seem to mind it 
a bit. Then we tried to appeal to their feelins with 
" Please to Remember the Grotto," but it was all in 
vain. They kicked up sich a tremenjus rumpus that 
I was oblijed to order our fellers to do sumthing for 
their money, so they took to the cheerin' again, and 
amidst it all stood the honourable member as upright 
as one of his own dealins, openin' and shuttin' of his 
mouth, but without sendin' forth any sound that could 
he heard, like a live mack'rel on a fishmonger's slab. 
At last, after severil eforts to speak with his tongue, he 
give that up and took to the tips of his fingers, deliverin' 
the follerin' butiful speech in the deaf and dumb alfabet, 
as taught in the woodcuts of the Family Herald. 

" Elektors and non-elektors of the borough of Lam- 
beth — If there is one thing more deliteful than another 
to the feelins of a member o' Parlyment, it is to meet 
his constituents in this manner for the purpose of tran- 
quil discussion, and consekwently household suffrige 
must be a bad thing, becos it will only add fifty voters 
to the borough of Lambeth. (Here the old man rushed 
forward, as agreed on, tossed his hat in the air, and 
seized the member's hand, but it was the old hat arter 
all, and so the demonstration was rayther a damp one — 
the old villin.) Universal sufFrige must be bad, for 
look at the efFecks of it in Ameriky, where it has made 
a lot of common people one of the strongest and most 



136 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

prospirous nations in the world. Let there be a full 
and fair representation of all classes, say I. (Here the 
pottery boys hissed, owin' to a mistake in the signals.) 
The House of the Commons havin' villified the people, 
the people has turned round and bullied the House of 
Commons — sich is the injustis of this world. (Groans 
from the tickit-holders, also a faint sort of hiccup from 
Nathaniel's chikkings, but they was poor tools at ap- 
plause ; and Radical yells and cries.) I am sure that 
the workin' men I am now addressin' are not the same 
as them that walked to Bewfort House. It is evident, 
therefor', that the great body of the members of the 
Trades' Unions approves of my votes. (Yells.) Pardon 
me if I am too severely thoughtful, but I alius reason 
in this way, and I will now conclude, hopin' you are 
well, as it leaves me at presint." 

During the whole of this address our party had con- 
tinued screamin' with grate liveliness, but they was 
much upset by a vulgar Radekal person, who looked as 
if he had come up to the Cattle Show, and who direckly 
he entered the room sit down, leant his head upon his 
hands, closed his eyes, and for three-quarters of an 
hour kep up a uninterrupted boo-oo-oo-ing like a 
tortered bull. I looks upon him as havin' give the 
death-blow to the meetin'. 

Arter the address a lively party went through varius 
expressif movements, like a goblin in a pantymine. It 
was easy to see what he meant. "That this meetin' 
havin' seen Mr. Doulton's speech, desires to express its 
puffeck confidence ""in him." (Grate uproar.) It was 
sekonded in the same way, and the chairman havin' bin 
found hidin' under a form, he was dragged out and 
carried unanimously along with the ressylution. 

Mr. Doulton returned thanks through a speakin' 
trumpit, and arter promising to meet 'em again at 
Phillips's, where Brutus saw the ghost o' Cesar, he left, 
surroundid by the chikkings — and got in a cab. Owin' 
to the way in which he was smuggled into the vehicle, 



M Y REFORM BILL. 137 

the people outside fansied he was a criminal of destink- 
tion, and chased him all the way home. As for me. I 
left my regiment to its fate, and retired to a lonely eel- 
pie- house, where I sit for the rest of the evenin' musin' 
on my favourit' theme — the ruin of the Constitootion. 

I have since heerd that the Radekals actilly got 
possession of the platform arter we left, and passed 
resolutions, cuttin' of us up in the very hall we had 
paid the rent for. For once, then, I have bin defeated, 
but I will meet them again at Phillips's. Till then, 
farewell. 

Josef Sprouts. 

P.S. — Do not spell my Christin name with a " ph," 
as you sumtimes do. It looks ridiculus. 



MY REFORM BILL. 

[Between the sessions of 1866 and 1867 Reform was 
discussed with great animation. There was much speculation 
as to the probability of the Conservative Cabinet's introducing 
a measure, and many amusing "safeguards" and "balances" 
were suggested as the only possible provisions of a satisfactory 
Bill.] 

AT larst I am sumbody ; at larst I have realised the 
great dream of my life, and can write F.S.A.S. 
arter my name. I have bekome a member of a sersiety 
— the Sersiety for the Abolition of Stupidity. 

Our sersiety consists of a president, a sekkiterry, a 
assistant sekkiterry, sum voluntary contributions, and 
twelve fellers*. I'm one of the fellers. The bizniss of 
the assistant sekkiterry is to receive postage stamps and 
sich-like triboots of respeck from the public. As soon 
as he comes in the mornin' he opens the letters, and 
arter helpin' himself to what he requires, he hands the 



138 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS 

remainder to the sekkiterry, who does the same. The 
surplus is then handed in to the treasurer, who orders 
lunch with it. The bizniss of the fellers is to hunt up 
cases of stupidity and abolish 'em. It is a grate idea ! 

" Our constant anxiety," said the sekkiterry in his 
fust letter to me, "is to git new members, and in 
choosin' 'em we act on the prinserple of settin' a thief 
to catch a thief. Reformed thieves makes the best 
thief-catchers, and by the same token reformed stupids 
is the only pussons as can nose out stupidity in all its 
varius disguises. Your writins have attracted the 
earnest attention of the sersiety. Reform and jine us." 

I was pleased with the invitation, for it seemed to 
answer a question I had often put to myself — namely, 
as to what I was fit for. At one time I fancied it was 
the Church, and I got a place as sexton in the City to 
Little St. Thomas Apostle, Bow-lane. But there was 
nothing to do — nobody wouldn't come to be decently 
interred, and at last I was obliged to dig the fellers up 
that had bin buried careless, and bury 'em over agin, 
till my frends persuaded me I was hidin' myself under 
a bushel, and I give it up. Then I tried the law, and 
for a time I was a ticket-porter in Gray's-inn-square, 
until the excitement begun to tell upon my iron frame- 
work, and I was forced to resign. I have bin in several 
things since that, but nothing seems to suit me so well 
as abolishin' stupidity, for in that purfession there's 
plenty o' variety and never any scarcity of work. 

As soon as I jined, we issued invitations to her 
Majesty's Ministers, but they wasn't responded to so 
warm as I could have hoped, for Benjamin's watchful 
eye seemed to sniff danger afar off. " I don't like the 
name, Josef," he sez ; "I suspects it's only another of 
them disreputable dodges for underminin' the welfare of 
our party which is so common now-a-days." Stanley 
seemed inclined to come among us until Epsom heerd 
of it, and sez he to him, " What," he sez, " you young 
villin ! would yer strike your poor old father ?" and so 



MY REFORM BILL. 139 

we lost the child. Howsumever, we've some good 
names — the member for Guildford is with us hart and 
soal, and we've lately caught a Greek professor. 

One of the chief reasons of the sersiety in askin' me 
to jine was to help 'em in drawing up a Reform Bill, a 
bill drawn up on the platform of the sersiety— namely, 
the abolition of stupidity from all share in perlitekal 
power. Benjamin's Reform Bill, brought in and after- 
wards kicked out severil years ago, tried to do this arter 
a fashion; but it didn't recognise the abolition of 
stupidity as a prinserple, and consekwently it failed ; but 
there's no reason why our party shouldn't try again, for 
why the abolition of stupidity should be the exclusif 
privilege of the Radekals I never could understand. 
But to resoom. As soon as I got the order for a 
Reform Bill, I set to work upon it with my coat off, 
and, arter due consultation with Betsy, I tinkered up 
the follerin' in four-and-twenty hours, and read it to 
the sersiety at their weekly meetin'. There was severil 
friends of the Conservatif cause invited as visiters, and 
allowed to take part in the discussion. 

THE BILL. 

The two grand divisions of most Reform Bills is 
enfranchisement and the redistribution of seats. To this 
I would add a third — namely, disfranchisement, which 
is ekally important, for if you give something in one 
quarter and do not take sumthing away in another, 
where is the balance of the Constitution ? This is a very 
elementary prinserple in mechaniks, and yet most f rends 
of the workin' classes seems to objeck to it. 

Enfranchisement is of two kinds — personal and social. 
Personal enfranchisement is the enfranchisement of 
persons. I don't know what social enfranchisement is, 
but I thought I'd put it in for a change. 

1st. As to personal enfranchisement. I perpose to 
give a vote to all persons over six foot high, or to all 
bodies of five persons whose united heights amounts to 



140 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

twenty-six foot ten inches, of sound mind, able to read 
and write. As Purfessor Blackie sez, " it is a law of" 
(somebody) " that cannot be kontryvened that the high 
should rule the low." Chang would have four votes all 
to hisself, as a slight incouridgement to his parents. 
All pussons above eight foot high to vote as often as 
they please. 

2nd. All pupils of Banting, and all pussons that 
cannot get through the turnstiles at Waterloo Bridge, 
to have a vote. The grate defeck of all the Radekal 
Reform Bills is that they don't purvide for what is 
called "lateral extension." There is plenty of skeems 
for downward extension, but they would only result in 
conferrin' a monoperly of the franchise on persons that 
have long legs ; and one of our great objeks is to 
pervide agin the domination of a klass. 

It may seem that I have paid too much attention to 
meer flesh and blood in this, but any one acquainted 
with the fillersofical prinserples of our Constitootion 
will see that my plan is strickly accordin' to reason and 
old-established rool. The grate buty o' Conservatism 
is that it has alius kep' up the intimit connection between 
mind and matter •, it has shown that 50/. in counties 
and 10/. in burrows is alius found united with simpli- 
serty of manners and grate perlitekal virtue. But if 
these two things goes in company with pounds o' gold, 
why not also with pounds o' flesh ? Why not, in fack, 
slightly rather more so, seem' that a man may lose his 
riches, but not even the tyranny of the Many can 
deprive him of his fat ? Besides, there is a sobriety, a 
steadyness, a absence of the wish to fly, about fat men, 
and they often have a steak in the country, and arter 
they have eaten it they feel more than ever bound to 
the soil. 

3. All men with one wooden leg to have one vote for 
burrows. 

" Let us represent other things besides hands and 
labour." — Blackie. 



M Y REFORM BILL, 141 

4. All men with a cork leg to have both a burrow 
and county vote. 

A cork leg indikates superior though tfulness and care, 
for it is a very expensif thing to buy. Also, it rekwires 
a knolledge of the world, for it is very liable to git out 
of order. In fack, a man with a cork leg may be said 
to have given hostages to fortune, 

5. All Siamese twins to have a vote, bekos two heads 
is better than one. 

6. All pussons who can pass the follerin , examinashun 
in history : — 

Who fell upon who and slew him ? 

In what reign was the statty in Lester-sqware re- 
stored ? 

Who signed what, and why did he do it ? 

Give the list of all the monarchs of England since the 
Conquist, and their principal weaknesses. 

Was it to be expectid that King William would have 
behaved otherwise ? 

Who led the pure Caucashian race from Hounsditch 
to Westminster ? 

7. The follerin' to have votes : — 
The staff of Gamp's Messenger. 
The staff of the Worm. 

The staff of the evenin' paper that has the largest 
circulation arter all the other papers that has the largest 
circulation is withdrawn. 

All these three papers, bein' what the Amerikans call 
"sound on the goose," is to form a union under the 
name of the Union of Shoe-lane, and is to have a special 
representatif all to theirselves. 

Seckshun Two. 

We now comes to a very difficult part of the subjeck 
— namely, plurality of votes. The objeck of a plurality 
of votes is to prevent the tyranny o' numbers and the 
domination of one class over anuther. As, for instant, 
there is considerable more dustmen in London than there 



142 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

is doll's-eye makers-, also, there is more dustmen than 
wise men in the same city. Yet, if all the doll's-eye 
makers, and all the other fellers, was to unite, their in- 
fluence would quite overpower that of the dust of ages 
in the nashional counsels. But if each dustman was to 
have one vote and three-qwarters for every one vote of 
the danjerous classes on the other side, he'd be able to 
larf to scorn the power of man, and the venerable dust 
int'rest would still be as thick as ever in the House of 
Commons. This doesn't only apply to dustmen, it 
applies to several other useful classes, sich as Greek 
professors, fightin' parsons, and all them people as have 
a good bit of intellijence and very little property, or 
plenty of property and very little intellijence. It ought 
never to be forgot that the constant endeavour of the 
House o' Lords is to do away with the exclusif repre- 
sentashon of classes, and we ought to help em. There- 
fore, be it enakted that all the follerin' pussons shall 
have the privilege of votin' frekwently, and all the 
pussons not mentioned here shall vote as seldom as they 
alius did. 

1. All Queen's Counsellors resident in the Temple. 
This is partly doo to the abilities of Garth in havin' 

got hisself into a mess sooner arter his eleckshun than 
any other member o' Parliment on rekord, and partly to 
a kindly feelin' of pity I have alius had for the Devil 
from my tenderest years — for it is only fair that a 
pusson who has sich large int'rests at stake outside the 
House should have his advokates within it. 

2. All aged wimmen. 

One of the wust signs of the presint time is the desire 
to stifle the woise of the representatifs of this class in 
Parliment, and to limit their number. And yet how few 
of us know a grandmother's feelins ! Betsy is highly in 
favor o' this clause. In fack, it was partly for the sake 
o' gettin' a little kwiet sleep in my bed at nite time that 
I put it in. 

3. All workmen with an account at Coutts's, all 



MY REFORM BILL. 143 

certificated agricultural labourers of fifty years' standin', 
and all sich as are desolit and afflicted. 

Redistribution of Seats, 

I have very little to say on this subjeck, except, 
perhaps, that Mr. Lowe should move a little nearer to 
Mr. Disraely, and that Lord Cranborn should be allowed 
to sit in a sawfter place. The more one looks attentif 
at both sides of the 'Ouse, the more one bekomes sartin 
that what is mostly wanted is a redistribution o' brains, 
but that is a problem for the futur. I shall bring in 
another bill for disfranchisement by-and-by. 

I have now done. If what I have here sketched out 
should be found useful in calmin' passions, in extin- 
guishin' jealousies, in reconcilin' liberty with law, and 
everybody with both — if it should prove instrumentle 
in keepin' up the blessins of that gloreus constitution 
under which Brand wrote and Gordon swung — if it 
should presaive yet a little longer from the iron grasp of 
Madame Toosaud those venerable figgers whose policy 
has made Ireland what she is and England what she 
didn't ought to be — in a word, if it should tend to make 
permanent that desirable state o' things by which wealth, 
edication, refinement, and all the blessins of freedom is 
so generally diffused, no one will feel more trooly 
elektrified than, 

Josef Sprouts. 



144 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 



MRS. SPROUTS AT THE OAKS. 

'""pHIS here story was to ha' bin partly rit by Betsy, 
which I was to be the editor of it. This editin' is 
something like pealin' pertaters. The force o' natur 
gives the original stuff, and then comes Mr. Editor vith 
his pruning hook, and skrapes off the outside skin, and 
picks out the hies, and makes it fit to be dished up to 
tabel for Christin people. There's a deal o' viggur in 
Betsy's style o' writin' ; but she's wantin' in grace. Her 
akkount of a slite difference of opinyun she 'ad with 
the wife of a tin merchant is forltless, but when she 
kums to the finer feelins of the sole, she don't make yer 
hart kwiver as it ort for to do ; but then, as Lord Bakin 
observes, them touchis wants genius, vich means wearin' 
long hare and keepin' yerself thin about the waste ; and 
she lost all charnce of makin' herself a name in literatoor 
d'rekly she parsed nine stone nine ; so, arfter all, I was 
obliged to do the best part of the work myself. 

But to resoom. The vehicle that stood at our dore 
in Collyfiour-alley on the mornin' of Friday might have 
giv a thrub to the hart of the proudest nobel of the 
land. Two of the portiest beasts — my Neddy and a 
neighbourin' donkey— -stood in the sharfts chafing of 
their bits and poreing over the earth beneeth their feet — 
leastways, Neddy was in the sharfts and the other was 
tenderly attached to 'em in front by some tracis made 
out of a bran-new cloze line. Their heads was deccy- 
rated with rosets got up for my dauter's weddin', and 
the rest of their pussons was kivered with a few incon- 
siderate trifles, sich as a peel o' bells, and as menny 
morsels of harniss as we could scrape together. 

In the barrer, which had bin enlarged for the purpus, 
sit a regular beaver of the fair dauters of Ingland. They 



MRS. SPROUTS AT THE OAKS. 145 

was packed pretty clos, and when they all got out at 
the end of the jurney they looked like a box of damaged 
figs, but as they sit there before startin', dressed out in 
all the kullers of the raimber, my hart swelled to be'old 
em. Fust was my darter, Amealy, a sportif young 
thing, with a face as round as a happel and as red. 
She was the only one of the party as had got anything 
like a waste to speak of, the rest on 'em beginnin' broad 
at the sholeders and keepin' just the same thickness all 
the way down. She could darnce, she could sing, and 
as for talk and sperrits she was jest as lively as a two- 
year-old monkey, a young parrit, and a chirpin black- 
bird all put in a pie together. Next to her was a staid 
sort of feemail, dressed in a pilot coat and bluchers, as 
kep a stall for mareen produse at a fish markit on the 
banks of the Temze. Her name was Cox, and she was 
beknown for alius speakin' her mind. Then come a 
gushin' young thing of about fifty winters, as had just 
made a runaway match with a milkman of the name of 
Kiddle, and was afraid her mother would never forgiv 
her. He had stole her at brake of day from her father's 
manshun, and she took sich a time to hist into the van 
that her parent, as vos vealthy, was alarmed and startid 
in pursoot in a light coal-waggin that happened to be 
parsin'. 'Owsumever, the milkman, as was resolute, 
put on a spurt when they got in site of the church, and 
beat him by a kupple of lampposts, and shortly arfter 
led her blushin' (she was always- blushin') to the halter. 
This made the old man spiteful, and he disinherited her, 
leavin' his property to the Sersiety for the Prevenshun of 
Vice, and the milkman findin' she wasn't an airess arter 
all, treated her with grate cruilty, frekwently beatin' her 
favourit' kow in front of the parley winders and refusin' 
to carry their frugil reparst to the bakehouse on a Sun- 
day, besides givin' all the cracklin' to the kat when the 
dinner consistid of pawk. 

Wedged in between Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Kiddle, to 
keep 'em from jammin' together in the rufF parts of the 

L 



146 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

road, was Miss Skraggs, a young woman born some 
few years before the repeel of the korn lors, and dissa- 
pinted in luv about the time when bloo tale kotes and 
buttons went out, giving up her lover bekos he went to 
a cock-fite, after vich he took to dissypashun to drive 
away the demon of remawce, and died from the effecks 
of a collision with a koal barge on the river after a 
carouse on gingur wine. Since then she's kep his 
portrit, dressed in darncin' pumps and' kerseymere 
smalls, in her buzzum, varying the amoosement with 
the reading of peoetry and bonnet-bilding, according to 
the laws of supply and demand, and the dictates of her 
conshunse. 

The larst to git in .was Betsy, kwite in the fashion, 
and lookin' like a paintin' from a bit of pottery ware in 
the British Museum. She had sold her crinerline and 
bought a bonnet like a perleeseman's helmet with the 
money, also a bottel of lite die for the hair ; the top of 
her hed was frizzed like the foam on a mug of pawter, 
and she had some stikky stuff on her face, called the 
Barm of Buty. All this was kwite unbeknown to me, 
and if we hadn't bin in a hurry for startin' I'd ha' made 
her take it every bit off agin, for besides the jeerin' of 
the boys, Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Kiddle looked at her very 
evil, as also Miss Skraggs, ketchin' my dawter's hi ; and 
by their affekshunate way o' beginnin' to tork to her, I 
knowed as something spiteful was in the wind. 

Ct Mind how you come, dear, 9 ' sez Mrs. Kiddle, 
" and don't sit down on the ginger-beer bottles, for if 
anything was to happen to yer at your time o' life we 
should never forgiv ourselves." 

" What made yer kiver yer self up in them there rags, 
Betsy ?" sez old Mrs. Cox ; " you'd better tie her 
down with a tarpaulin, Josef, for she'll be blown away 
into the river if we gets anything of a breeze." 

" Lor, Mrs, Cox," sez Miss Skraggs, " one 'ud think 
you was spiteful if one didn't know you was the best- 
harted kreetur alive. Kum and sit over here, Mrs. 



MRS SPROUTS' AT TEE OAKS. 147 

Sprouts, dear, and take my umbrelly, for the sun can do 
vot he likes with my complection." 

And then they all looked straight before em without 
moving a muskal of their facis. Oh deer ! oh deer ! 
wot onsarchabl* beins wimmen is. 

Arter that we started, but we'd hardly got a kwarter 
of a mile before Neddy took to gallopin' very onsartin, 
lifting himself up now and then as if he was tryin' to 
darnce in the air ; and at larst, in spite of repeatid taps 
from the tittivatur, layin' down in the mud and refusin' 
to go a step farther. It turned out, after all, that the 
wates wasn't balanced to pleese him — (he's bin very 
pertikler about the laws of graverty from 'is childhood) 
— for Betsy, with a hamper of provishuns, was seatid 
too near the end of the barrer, and every time the little 
feller got a good start on they tilted him clean off his 
legs and he had to begin all over agin. Betsy wanted to 
make it out that he was ageing fast, 'cos he was gettin' 
so bad-tempered ; but I knoo I was rite, and put her 
and the hamper in the middle of the chariot, makin' 
Miss Skraggs and my darter Amelia take their placis. 

" Bestir yourself, Edward," sez Miss Skraggs — pokin' 
him with the end of her umbrelly — but he didn't 
move. 

" Gee hup, Neddy," sez I, sorftly persuadhv him 
with a tikel from the tittyvatur ; and d'rekly he heerd 
his natif Saxon he pricked up his ears and floo away like 
a sea-horse. 

We made our last stoppage at Sutton, and as I turned 
to ask 'em what refreshment I should order, I heerd a 
light guffaw among the fimmels, and I beheld a site as 
made me onsartain whether to larf or kry. 

The sun had come out pretty handsome, and he'd 
made sich warm play on Betsy's vissij that he'd com- 
pleetly melted all the Barm of Buty she had plastered on 
it an hour or two before, and her fetures was as moist 
and sticky as a gum-bottle. This was bad enufF, but, 
owing to the tearing pace of our steeds, she'd caught 



148 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

the best part of the blacks flying about between 
Clapham Common and Collyflour-alley, vich had stuck 
to her face till she looked something between a Chris'mas 
pudding and a draft-board ; and d'rekly Mrs. Kiddle 
see it she sez, " O, youve got a little black on the tip of 
your nose, dear" and under pretence of wipin' it off she 
gave it a smudge that made it harf as long agin, and 
turned pore Betsy into the likeniss of a Guy Fox. 

I was too savvij to tell her off it, and the others was 
too spiteful, and so we druv off, arter givin both the 
donkeys some beer. To hear them wimmen gabblin' 
away behind me was a kaution — it was " deer" and " luv" 
every five minnits ; but I was proud on 'em arter all ; 
for though we passed a good menny pretty turn-outs 
filled with luvly faces and chased fawms, there wasn't 
another vehaycle of our size that could have ventured to 
carry sich a ivate without the springs givin' way. From 
a rufF kalkilation I don't suppose our livin' freight o' 
buty wayed less than a qwarter of a ton — their lives 
hangin', in a manner o' speakin', . upon a thread, for 
pretty nigh all the best bits o' the donkey's harness was 
made o' string. 

As soon as we got on the racekoise we sit down near 
a carridge belongin' to a member o' Parlyment, and het 
our frugil reparst, The plan was that everybody was 
to bring what she liked, and when it was all opened out 
and laid upon the verdent grass it addid qwite a new 
charm to the landskape. The fust contribution was 
four kold mackril and some sawce in a blackin' bottle, 
from Mrs. Cox ; then Miss Skraggs giv us two bottles 
of elder wine and a kwart of shrimps ; Mrs. Kiddle 
follered soot with a pig's head and sum chesnuts ; and, 
larstly, as fish was trumps, Betsy played a kupple of 
pounds of sammun and some chilly vinegar in a gally- 
pot. We had everything the hart could desire except 
pepper and salt, and that brort us all to a standstill. 

" Wat made yer forgit the pepper and salt, yer old 
stoopid ?" sez Mrs. Cox to Betsy. 



AIRS. SPROUTS AT THE OAKS. 149 

"I cannot disgust my food without kondyments," 
sez Miss Skraggs. 

" The fust kwarrel I had with Kiddle after our un- 
fort'nit marridge was about a pepper-box," sez Mrs. 
Kiddle, " for I, bein' yung and thautless, and dreamin' 
only of our luv, 'ad forgot to put it on the tabel, vere- 
upon my husbiand, as was out of temper that mornin' 
through bein' kicked by a Alderny kow, roars out in 
a voice of thunder, ' Vere'^ the pepper ?' and I- " 

" Heer," I sez, cuttin' her short ; " stop a minnit, I'll 
soon set this to rites." So I run to the member o' 
Parlyment's carridge with a sawcer, and pulled off my 
hat. 

" Nesessity's the fust lor of natur, and also the muther 
of convensions, my lord," sez I. " You and me are 
perlitekal deponents, and 'ave 'ad menny a hard struggle 
in the perlitekal airy ; but the fakt is, our party's out o' 
pepper and sault, and if you'll giv us a pinch or two you 
can have the pick of our makril in exchange." 

He giv us plenty o' both freely for nothin'. As I 
went away I heered one o' the ladies arskin' him " Who 
are these dredful pussons, Henery ?" but I couldn't heer 
his reply. 

Arter we'd drunk his helth three times three and 
given the donkeys some more pawter, we had a sweep- 
stakes. Betsy drawed Heeb, the goddess of public- 
houses, and old Mrs. Cox Fair Rosamund ; while Miss 
Skraggs got La Dolphin, a sort o' son of the King of 
France, jest as they calls our Queen's offspring the 
Prince of Whales ; and then nothin' 'ud satisfy 'em but 
they must make a wager about the runnin'. So, jest to 
humour 'em, I sings out to Betsy, " I'll bet yer a kupple 
o' pares o' worstid gluvs to a quarter of a pound of 
birdseye agin Heeb for a place." 

" Nonsense," sez old Mrs. Cox, " why don't yer bet 
somethin' useful ? A pretty hexample Betsy would be 
settin' to her children in kiverin' up her hands in 
gluvs." 



150 MR. SPROUTS E1S OPINIONS. 

" Gluvs is kwite the fashun, 'owsumever," sez Miss 
Skraggs, very contemshus. 

"Kiddle wore gluvs. before our yunion," sez the 
other chikken with a si' ; " they was slate kuller, with 
a streak o' black along the seams. About a munth arter 
I was led to Hyam's halter I tried to weedle him out of 
a pair by kissin' him while he was layin' asleep on the 
sofy, but the littel retch pretendid to think I was a 
bloobottle, and kep fiappin' at me with his hankecher 
and cryin' out c Be orf,' without once openin' of his 
les. 

" Sarve yer rite," sez Mrs. Cox. " Look here, 
Josef," sez she, " 111 wager a spottid 'ankecher to a 
pair o' blucher boots that Fare Rosymund is some- 
wheres at the end of the race •" and I sed '* Dun." 

Jest then up kum a dredful old gipsy as looked as if 
she'd bin dropped in a kauphy-pot in the daze of her 
youth, and had never bin properly washed since ; and 
giving a glarnce at my dauter, she sez, " Let me tell 
yer fortin, my pretty deer ; halso yer sister's, too" — a 
turnin' of her optik on Betsy, as looked mity pleased 
and throo her ies on the ground, and tride to be as 
bashful as a young kitten in luv. 

So, jest for the fun of the thing, I give the old 
woman a crookid sixpence and told her to begin, and 
then she rattled away with a lot of stuff sich as yer 
reads in the. penny h ; ghflyin' books, and delightin' of 
pore Betsy to that degree that she pulled and straightened 
herself up as if she'd grown twenty years younger with- 
in the hour. 

" Let me look at yer hand, my deer," she sez, and 
Betsy giv it up like a child. " Ah, you ain't mar rid 
yet," sez she, "but you werry soon will be, and your 
husbiand'll be a kount with mustarchers. This here 
line," she sez — pintin' to the dig of an oyster knife — 
" means as yu're bein' pursood by a dark pusson as 
thirsts after yer life ; but there's a fair man," she sez, 
" with a pink hyelash, as contracts everything the other 



MRS. SPROUTS AT THE OAKS. 151 

one does as'll di at larst and leev yer fiftene hundred a 
year and a silvur teepot." 

"Lor' bless me, Josef," says Betsy, "isn't there a 
deel of it true ? The feller that keeps the oppersition 
barrer is as dark as a gipsy, sure enuff. It's wunderful," 
she sez, givin' the old woman another sixpence, " and 
it jest makes out my dream." 

As for me I was obliged to larf in my hat. 

" Wot am I to be ?" sez Miss Skraggs, likewise givin' 
her sum money, with a kind of simper. 

" O," sez the old creetur, " yer third child'U be jest 
as pretty as the two others is as is now livin' ; but," 
she sez, " beware, for there's a sort of shadder pur- 
sooin' of yer nite and day, as means either measles or 
scarlatiner." 

Pore Miss Skraggs, she turned as red as a beetroot, 
and she sez, very falterin', " It's all rubbish ; there 
ain't a bit of it true ," and sent the old woman away. 

But while we'd bin talkin' and argifyin' with the old 
gipsy the race was run, and arfter coming nearly twenty 
miles from London to see the Hoax, we witnissed no 
more of it than if we'd been follerin' agricultural pur- 
soots in the bosom of Collyflour-alley. 

As I'd promised to take 'em all to the play in the 
evenin' we begun to talk of gettin' bak to town. So 
arter we'd packed up the dinner sarvice I harnissed the 
donkeys and giv 'em a little more beer, and off we startid 
'ome. For the fust few miles everything went as butiful 
as you could wish, and the ladies kep talkin' together 
very plessunt, still calling one another " deer," till at 
larst they come to the fortin-tellin', and then I soon 
see as something like a storm was a-brewin' in the 
wind. 

"The ideer," sez Betsy, "of the silly old kreetur 
thinking I wasn't marrid." 

"Stuff and nonsense," sez Mrs. Cox, "she never 
thought nothin' of the sort." 

"I'll thank yer not to trampul over me, mum," sez 



152 MR. SPROUTS E1S OPINIONS. 

Betsy, "because I happen to be young enuffto be your 
dawter, Deborah Cox." 

"That don't make yer so young but yer mite be 
mother to everybody else in the vehaycle, Betsy," sez 
Mrs. Cox, with a snigger. 

"Don't Betsy me, mum," sez my wife. "And as 
for the rest of the ladies presint, I konsider myself jist 
as good as them any day of the week." 

" You're a long way ahed of 'em in komplection," 
sniggers Miss Skraggs. 

" Your husbiand is much to be pitied, mum, for 
you've got a very unkultivated intelleck," sez Mrs. 
Kiddle ; "as for me, I'm sorry for yer ignurance from 
the bottom of my hart." 

" Hart or no hart, ignurance or no ignurance, mum," 
sez Betsy, " I would have manyged to be picked up 
with somebody better than a milkman if I'd bin you. 
As for my husband, he's a purfeshunal pusson, and 
halso " 

How long it mite ha' gone on I don't know, if a 
dredful accident hadn't happened owin' to the intoxica- 
tion of the donkey as had the lead — Neddy's always 
made one o' the party in our holiday trips, and he's 
used to beer, but the other fine kreetur 'avin' a week 
hed had partook of our horspetalerty till he'd made his- 
self thoroughly inkapabl', and after wobblin' about very 
onsartin from one side of the road to the other, and 
bumpin' agin innoomerable axles, he wound up by 
givin' two or three short larfs and whiskin' us kleen 
into a 'orse pond. The skreems of the fimmels was 
dreadful, but by the help of a bote-hook we soon got 
'em ashore ; also the donkeys ; and we all went home 
together as damp as a bunch o' waterkreases. I wasn't 
sorry for one thing, 'owsumever — it washed all the 
paint off Betsy's face ; and as for the curls in her flaxen 
hair, they kum out just as strate and as grey agin as 
ever they was before 'air di was inwented. 



BETSY IN " TEE HOUSE" 153 



BETSY IN "THE HOUSE." 

f" WAS takin' a erly meal last Thursday, prevus to 
settin' off for my Parlimentary duties, when I see 
by the vilent way in which Betsy banged the dishes on 
the table that something was in the wind. 

" Wot ails you, you old stoopid ?" I sez, mildly, 
" and why do you try to decompose my soul by playin' 
them larks with the drippin' ?" 

" Nothin' ails me, Josef Sprouts," sez she — (it's 
alius " Josef" when there's a row comin' on) — " Nothin' 
ails me. Why should it ? I'm jest a meer syphon in 
the famerly, that's all." 

I het a few ounces of stake in silens. It was plane 
somethin' was the matter ; but what was it ? We'd 
got over our bit of trouble last week, and had three 
and sevenpence in the bank ; if the public was gettin' 
tired of cabbij, they was beginnin' to hanker after 
sparrergrass. We'd had our usual sixpennurth of a 
five-act tragedy on the Monday night, and our places 
for the Derby was booked in a yaller wan that started 
from the rag-shop ; the children was 'elthy, and the 
donkey was well, except a slight cold caught thro' 
fallin' three times in Holborn on a wet day, and 'is 
voice was as good as ever, only he was a little 'orse 
in the high notes. One would ha' thought we was 
enjoyin' everything the world could give ; but the 
corners in the femail 'art is very puzzlin'. 

" Wot ales yer ?" I sez, passin' the beer-jug and 
wipin' it with my cuff, for them little attentions goes a 
long way in dealin' with the softer sex. "Are yer 
grievin' about the cabbijes ?" 

" No, Josef," sez she. 



154 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" Is it bekos yer think our steed has got the astma, 
then ?" sez I. 

"No, Josef," agin (veepin' with the corner of her 
aprin). 

" 'Ave yer been overwated in a kwarrel lately then, 
or wot is it?" I sez, pretendin' to get in a passion. 
" Vy is my house to be made a wilderness with these 
tantrums at a time when my 'art is occupied with public 
consarns ?" 

" Drat public consarns," she sez, in a tone of gentl' 
irony ; "if yer do keep the company of lords and 
ladies, Josef, why must yer leave me at 'ome ? Am I 
to be alius mendin' shirts in the evenin', while you are 
petted by the proudest in the land ? If yer lorful wife 
is good enuff to go to Epsom in a wan, why ain't she 
fit to have a place booked for her in Parly ment ?" 

" Bekos," I sez, " that's no place for wimmen. If 
yer goes there yer'll have to 'old yer tongue in a sort of 
cage." 

" I can do it," sez she. " I didn't speak a wurd once 
for five-and-twenty minnits for a wager, and I can do 
it agin." 

" Besides," I sez, " you won't be allowed to sit along 
o me. 

"Never mind," she sez, "lean wave a hankecher 
to yer thro' the bars when I want to go away, and 
you can give a sort of vissel to say as you can see me, 
and that'll be all we want." 

I giv in. I'm a good bit like Adam as regards the 
won kin' of women. In a little time she was dressed 
in as many colours as a windy full o' flour-pots, and 
Neddy took us down in the best barrer. He wheezed 
a bit when he caught the wind on his chest a turnin' of 
the corners ; but we left 'im 'appy enuff in Pailis-yard 
along with the other visitors' carrijes. 

I put Betsy in the hands o' Battun, and as soon as I 
got my seat in the gallery beside Sarum, I looked up at 
the wimmen's cage, and see somebody pullin' a bottle 



BETSY IN " THE HO USE." 155 

and things out of a baskit, so I noo she was all rite. 
But I see somethin' else halso starin' at me through the 
bars, and what should it be but a hookey nose, wearin' 
a pair o' spektikles. 

"Why, bless us !" I sez, "if that ain't old Lady 
Hankey a sittin' next to Betsy, too. My eye, won't 
there be a shindy by-and-by, that's all !" 

As soon as Sarum found' out I noo a lady o' title he 
was very slimey for the rest o' the evenin', and kep' 
offerin' me walnuts and cettery between the akts. 

The first part o' the performance was very slow. A 
Lib'ral was speakin', and, of course, I wouldn't pay any 
attention to him, and I should ha' gone to sleep rite 
off if • I hadn't heerd a gentl' bark from one of the 
tarriers. " Bow-wow !" sez he. " We're a very happy 
famerly in the cave, gents, and I'd rather be there and 
furridge for myself than have ever so much cat's-meat 
under a master. My nateral pride revolts agin sich 
yolks," sez he. (" Bow-wow" from the Tories.) 

"There ain't much sperrit in 'em to-night," I sez to 
Sarum ; " I ain't heard nobody abuse the honorable 
member for Birmingum yet." 

"That'll come by-and-by, Mr. Sprouts," sez he, 
"when they gits rather dry for argy mints." 

" He don't look so terrible, after all, that Birmingum 
member, does he ?" sez I. 

"No," sez Sarum, "that's his cunnin'. But I've 
heerd say he carries three pistols under his kote, and 
a knife in his boot, and then agin," he sez, " the very 
name of Birmingum seems to remind yer of beheadin' 
the aristocracy. We finds it very useful in fritenin' 
Conservatif infants when they won't take their teethin' 
powders," he sez. " ' Be kwiet,' sez we, * or we'll 
give yer to the honorable member for Birmingum,' and 
I never noo one on 'em hit his nurse with the bootjak 
after hearin' that." 

" He's alius wrong, of course," I sez ; " but how is 
it he's had so many good tips for most of the leadin' 



156 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

events as have come off these last few years ? Some 
say he was right about the korn laws ; he warn't many 
miles out over the war in Ameriky, and I don't think 
he was quite in the dark about the officers and gentle- 
men in Jamaky." 

" I tell yer candid, Mr. Sprouts," sez Sarum, " that's 
the only thing that onsettles me about this horrid 
Reform. Whether it is that he reads the futur' by 
the cards, or keeps a wizard, or what it is, I dunno ; 
but things often does turn out as he sez they will, in 
spite o' Magny Charty. The other nite I went to a 
fortin' -teller myself in the Waterloo-road," sez he, " to 
ask him about this very bill ; and after boltin' the dore, 
and shakin' up something in a kauphy cup, he drew a 
picter of a shaggy little dawg with its ears cut, lookin' 
very sickly at a Scotch haggis, as if his appytite was 
gone, and rit underneath it, ' Grate tribbylashun,' on a 
teaboard in white chalk, and that was the only glimps 
of the futur' I got for harf-a-krown." 

It went on very slow and miserable agin till one 
Lib'ral youth riz up and walked into another in fine 
style. 

" Brayvo !" says Sarum, " that's the way to sarve 
'em. Tom Brown thought to git off bekos he helped 
the other feller hisself out of a scrape the last week, 
Mr. Sprouts ; but it'll never do to let gratitood inter- 
fere with our dooties to the publik. If the Rummuns 
killed their own sons and darters at the call of dooty, 
why shouldn't one member for Lambeth 'it another in 
the bak ?" 

But nobody else had sperrit enuff to do the ditto to 
that, spiteful as they was, and they went on talkin' 
with sich an everlastin' beatin'-about-the-bush style 
that I got tired of it at last. Most of the Tories begun 
by sayin' they vurshupped the workin' classes, and 
wound up with a ressylution to give 'em everything 
except a vote. Then they cut it up wonderful fine ; 
some thought the wood-carvers would vote capital 



BETSY IN " THE HOUSE." 157 

well, but not the wood-planers ; others that makin' 
laws about food and lodgins was as good as passin' 
a vote agin the bluebottles in the butchers' shops — 
(this is what they call p'litikal economy). But none 
on 'em seemed to me to git at the hart of the matter ; 
they talked about everything but the questin before 
'em, and I couldn't 'elp rememberin' a little domestik 
instance o' this style of debatin', which I told to 
Sarum. 

" The night before the christenin' of our last child," 
sez I, "we was a settlin' what we should give his god- 
fathers and godmothers for dinner the next day. Bein' 
naterally Conservatif, I stuck up for roast pork and 
sturfin', with a gooseberry tart to foller, for the Sproutses 
had all bin christened on roast pork since the year I. 
But Betsy, as had took rather a noo turn agin old 
institutions, made a regular fite for biled mutton and 
roley-poley puddin'. The nuss was on my side, and so 
was Brockey ; but Mrs. Beccles was all in favour o' 
Betsy, so we 'ad a debate on it jest like the fellers in 
Parlyment. I opened for the pork by goin' straight to 
the pint, and sayin' I liked cracklin' ; but when Betsy 
retaliated for the mutton, she began with praisin' the 
butcher's boy for his curly 'ead of 'air, ' Yes,' sez 
Mrs. Beccles, ' he's very industrus, for he's alius 
scrapin' his block, and his skewers is as wite as the 
driving snow.' ' What's that to do with roast pork ?' 
sez I, savvij. 'Devil a bit,' sez Brockey, 'for the 
porkman's jest took two apprentices, and bought a 
sassij machine.' 'Sassij machine or not,' sez Betsy, 
' there's bin a good many dark things sed agin his blak 
puddins ; and as for his wife, she dresses her children 
like hidjuts, and is very unkind to her second cuzzen.' 
' Cuss her cuzzen !' sez I, in a pet ; ' if you've got 
anything to say agin pig, why don't you speak out? 
Mutton fat's like candles,' I sez ; ' them's my send 
ments. Now, who's for pork ? I don't care nothin 
about the butcher's wife.' ' She's jest as good as the 



158 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

porkman's,' sez Betsy, ' anyhow, and we ain't going to 
be trampled on with onion stuffin' and gooseberried 
none the more for that, Josef;' and I do beleev we 
should ha' bin at it till now if I hadn't gone out 
and fetched the pork in with my own 'ands, Mr. 
Sarum." 

Just as I come to that there was a 'or rid sort o' row 
in the wimmen's lock-up, and I see someone wavin' a 
spotted 'ankecher, and heerd the voice of my partner in 
life crying out — 

"Why don't I sit still, mum? 'Ow can I? If 
you're used to bein' pizened in a rabbit 'utch, I ain't. 
It's like your imperdence to take out that sent-bottle, as 
if you never smelt a drop o' sperrits in youi life. I've 
heerd of you before, Mrs. Hankey, mum ; my pore 
husband wasn't fine enough for yer, because he didn't 
eat 'is puddin' with a phawk ; but we can do without 
you, and the Houses of Parlyment too, mum. Come 
along, Josef ;" and you may guess I wasn't long before 
I had her out of the place, and all the members hee- 
hawing like mad, and the youth in the vig and the 
sarjunt of harms with his toasting-fork both in cold 
prespiration. 

I druv her 'ome vithout speakin', for I was very 
wild. 'Owsumever, when I heerd there was bakon for 
supper, the soothin' influences of literatoor come over 
me, and I rit the follerin' poet, which is uneven, like 
the burnin' currants of my sole* : — 

Savoury steam vos upward curlm* 

From the pot upon the lire, 
Both my little gals was twirlin' 

Spikey pipe-lights for their sire, 
From the cellar came a barkin', 

From the stable on the right 
A bray — it was the dogs a larkin', 

'Twas my Neddy's soft " Good night." 

* Title of poem, Whigs and Toreys. By Josef Sprouts. 



BETSY IN « THE HOUSE." 159 

Everything was calm and 'appy, 

And I thought o' childhood's scenes — 
The days when I got ill on baccy, 

My fust barrer full o' greens. 
Per'aps the sperrits was invitin', 

It may ha' been my Neddy's bray ; 
But, "• Josef, do a bit o' writm'," 

Several voices seemed to say. 

"Josef, win etarnal glory, 

Seize your pen and boldly write 
The difference 'tween a good old Torey 

And the villins opperzite ; 
Soar abuv yer present station, 

Now you're chareman at the Pub, 
If you wins their apprybation, 

You may gain the Carlton Club." 

Vot's a Vig .? He's always sighin' 

For some 'appy time in store ; 
Never easy, ever cryin', 

Like an 'ungry 'unter, " More ;" 
Thinks the bounds of earth and heaven 

On some futur day shall meet, 
Till it's easy to be driven 

To the stars from Monmouth-street. 

But the Tory he's a fixter ; 

Thinks the past and present make 
Jest the sort o' drinkin' mixter, 

And you'll spile it if you shake : 
It was Vigs in the Exchekker 

That brought over furrin slops ; 
Tories knows no other likker 

Can improve on malt an' 'ops. 

Vigs sez, " Shiney boots and dress-kotes 

Shows as life's an onward march ; 
Also ties and saten weseotes, 

And the < Glenfield patent starch ;' 



160 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

" E. Moses and his orfspring, — Cockle, 
Ven the Romans had the rool, 
Vos problems for the futur bottled, 
So was Twelvetrees, so was Poole." 

Sez the Tories, " 'Tain't no reason 
Ve should always march so fast, 

Beer foments a certain season, 
But yer keep it still at last. 

This world's like a pot of porter- 
Tories is the creamy head, 

Ven yer mixes 'em with water, 

Or stirs 'em up, their bloom is fled." 

Sez the Vigs, the stoopid creeturs, 

" Life seems wide enuff for all, 
Where's the need to chisel Peter 

Jest to give his wage to Paul ? 
God give man his garding, Natur', 

Some one else invented dores, 
And enclosed a patch of taters 

For sustain in' of the pore. 

" But we dreams of happy hours, 

When the thickest dores shall rot, 
And the pore shall smell the flowers 

Bloomin' in the garden plot, 
Till the healin' balm o' natur 

Makes 'em raise their heads agen, 
And the likeness of their Maker 

Once more shines in humble men. 

" Till the tree o' knolledge, shootin* 

Right out in the open air, 
Lowly men may go a fruitin' 

Spite of ' Trespassers beware !' 
And eat a bit, till, in due season, 

They larn to look at right and wrong 
Jest simply with the eye o' reason, 

Not through the noose o' c Goodman Thong.'* 

* A sportif alias for Jack Ketch. — Josef. 



BETSY IN " THE HOUSE? 161 

Sl Thick dores on their hinges creaking 

Walls with tops o' broken glarse, 
They won't stop 'em — ships a leakin' 

Can't be plugged with apple sarse, 
They must come, and to save a shindy 

(It's more for your sakes than for theirs) 
Say, shall they bust yer parlour windy, 

Or walk like Christins up the stairs ? 
• 
" This here's not anarky or treason, 

No more than them there nat'ral shocks 
That splits the earth at certain seasons, 

And brings the bottom up atop. 
Think of a Roman beadle croakin' 

6 I've kort Vesoovius in the fact, 
And means to have him up for smokin' 

Agin the chimbeley sweepers' Act.' " 

NOO MEATER. 

Sez the Tory, " I don't like yer simmerleys — stop. 

6 The rigger o' natur,' sez you, < 's like a garden/ 
But it's more like a sugar loaf, small at the top, 

And broad at the bottom, I'll bet a brass farden. 
The fust layer's beests o' the field, sich as mokes ; 

The pore men in jakkits, their sons and their darters, 
Is next ; then the lawyers and others in kotes ; 

And last comes the rich in their stars and their garters." 

OLD MEATER AGIN. 

As for spread of eddycation, 

Don't be runnin' on too fast ; 
Let the patrut save the nation, 

And the cobbler mind his last ; 
Let the tinker stick to kettles, 

And the tailor to his goose, 
And the donkey to his nettles, 

And the St*nd*rd to abuse. 

If men always 'd their dinners, 

How would charity survive ? 
If they wasn't wicked sinners, 

How'd the bench o' bishops thrive ? 

M 



162 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

If they wasn't sometimes wicious, 
Where would law an' justis be ? 

Lord ! if all should turn ambitious, 
What 'ud come to you and me ? 

Some was eatin', some was drinkin', 

When the fall o' Pompey* came ; 
Some was sittin' down a thinking 

Each had got his little game ; 
So, till this world busts to atoms, 

There'll be grades in ev'ry state, 
Lords and beadles givin' rations 

To casyels at the work'us gate. 

At this junktur the bakon and pease come on the 
table. 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 

*npHE Easter vacation was a'most over in Collyfiour- 
-*- alley, an' I'd begun to think o' settlin' down to 
pertaters agin. We'd kep it up pretty well considerin'. 
On the Monday we'd dined at the Pig and Thunderbolt 
at Greenwich (8d. a 'ed, beer extry), and we'd had a 
very comfortable day, windin' up very pleasant in the 
evenin' with a bit of an argyment. On the Tuesday, 
arter I was baled out, we all went to the British 
Museum, and finished with a dawg show ; and on the 
Wednesday we 'ad a tea fight (kivers for sixteen) ; on 
the Thursday I give my daughter away to a master 
sweep, and we made a weddin tower to the National 
Gallery, with a dance in the evenin'. Friday we took 
hoss exercise on 'Ampstead 'Eath, and on Saturday we 
all felt rayther languid, so we had in a few gallons o' 

* A City Scalded to Deth with 'ot Cinders. — See Works 
of a Tory Nobleman, 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 168 

refreshment and a christenin' in the bosom of our 
famerly, and I read the Mornin Post. 

On the Saturday night, jest as I was tellin' Neddy to 
get ready for bizness fust thing on Monday mornin', 
what should I see stickin' in the chimbley glass but an 
invitation from the Lord Mare to dine with him at the 
Mansion House on Monday night. I'd put it among the 
other invitations ; and if I hadn't happened to have re- 
membered it at all in that casual way, I should ha' 
forgot it altogether, as the sayin' is. 

" Oh, bother," I sez, when I see it, " I don't reely 
think as how I can go." 

" Well," says Betsy, " it'll look uncommon shabby if 
yer don't. I dessay he's made up his mind you're a 
comin', and got a bit o' something tastey for ye to eat ; 
and there he'll be bobbin' up and down every time he 
hears a knock at the door, and wonderin' why Sprouts 
don't come. Besides, it'll look so proud." 

" Goodness knows," I sez, " it ain't pride. Bekos 
I'm up in the world I ain't goin' to look down on no 
man, let alone a Lord Mare, but I almost wish some- 
times I could retire to a chandler's shop and leave public 
life altogether, for as to doin' as yer like that's all over 
as soon as ye've got a reputation." 

'Owsumever, the long and the short of it was I made 
up my mind to go. I bought a first-rate suit of clothes 
for evenin' parties from the widder of an undertaker as 
died through mistakin' disinfectin' fluid for gin at a 
funeral when he thought nobody see him lookin' in the 
cupboard. The clothes was a little bit skimpish and 
thin, for he was a man as had taken a good drop of 
disinfectin' fluid in his time, but with the help of a little 
black tape and string I managed to make 'em fit me 
tolerable well, and when I thought what a many people 
was struttin' up and down the world in clothes as never 
belonged to 'em I felt pretty well content. 

It was rather rainy on the Monday night, so I went 
down in a handsome, and I kept rubbin' the winder all 



164: MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

the way, so as the people should see me. I winked at 
every perleeseman and bobbed my head at every quiet- 
lookin' old gent all the way down, till all Cheapside was 
a starin' at me, and a dawg ran barkin' at my heels as if 
I was a Lord Mare's show. 

Everybody seemed to know I was comin', for when 
I got down to the Mansion House the crowd o' people 
was wonderful. When I got out I 'ad to walk upstairs 
past two rows o* riflemen under a speckled yawning as 
looked at me very civil ; but jest as I got to the top I 
heard one or two on 'em a titterin' behind me, and 
turnin' my head, who should I see but that infunnel old 
dawg o' mine, Pincher, who had stole out unbeknown 
and follered me all the way. He was kivered from 
head to foot with splashes, and looked as if he'd got 
boots on from the mud o' Cheapside, and he was a 
waggin' the little stump where his tail used to be, and 
cockin' up his ears, as was all frayed out at the edges 
through argifyin' with cats, and he looked as happy 
as a king out of his one eye, and began to bark for 

joy- 

" Go home, yer onnateral villin," I sez ; " unless yer 
want to blite my prospecks, go home, and p'raps I'll see 
if I can bring yer somethin' away for breakfast." As 
soon as he see I was serious he turned round agin, and 
after borrowin a bit of uniform from the leg of a cor- 
poral of the volunteers he trotted downstairs as stately 
as could be, boots and all, and in I went. 

But, bless ye, I wasn't the only one there. They'd 
asked no end o' people to meet me, for the hall was 
crammed with 'em ; and the first thing they all did 
when they went in was to go up to a table where a 
splendid-made man was standin', all covered with gold 
lace, and his hair as white as snow, although he was 
quite young in the face. D'rekly they got up to him 
they all took their hats off; so thinks I, this must be the 
Mare his self. 

" 'Ope I see yer well, my lord," I sez, goin'up; 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 165 

" likewise yer famerly. How've yer spent Easter ? 
Didn't yer find 'Ampsted rather damp ?" 

But the gawney looked as blank as if I'd fired a pistol 
at him, and so did two or three pore efFeminine kreeturs 
as was standin' round him. At last the feller sez to me, 
u I'll take yer hat and coat," he sez, very supersilyus ; 
and bother me if . he was anything better than the foot- 
man, after all. 

" Why do yer dress yerself in that onnatural manner, 
mate ?" I sez to 'im, for my feelins was wounded, 
'Owsumever, I give him the coat and the hat. 

What obstinit things them spring-hats is ! I 'ad a 
reg'lar tuzzle with mine afore I could shut it up. I got 
him under two or three times, as I thought, but he flew 
up agin with a bang like a ginger-beer cork, till at last 
I sez, rayther savage, " What, yer won't, won't yer ?" 
I sez, and I put him on a chair and sit on him till 
he give way and come out lookin' as flat as any pan- 
cake. 

All the people was goin' into a room as turned to the 
left out of the hall, so I went there too. D'rekly I got 
to the door a feller with a short wand in his hand, like 
a sugar stick, stops me and asks my name, and wen he 
heard it he bawls out " Mr. Josef Sprouts" in a way 
that tickled me amazin', and I walked in. 

It was a large sort o' place, like two front parlors 
rolled into one, and at one end on it was a very plessunt- 
lookin' gent in black velvet and silk stockins, and two 
very nice lookin' ladies on each side on 'im, one of 'em 
as it might be his wife and the other his darter from the 
family likeness ; and a lot of people was standin' round 
'em in a sort of horseshoe pattern. 

" Oh, my deer Mr. Sprouts," sez the Lord Mare, for 
it was the right one this time, " how do you do ? This 
gentleman," he sez, meaning me, and presentin' me to 
a fat-lookin' old party, " though I have not 'ad the 
pleshur of readin' his works, has, I understand, done 
much towards the putrification of our national literatoor ; 



166 MB. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

he has, if I may ventur' to say so to his face/' he sez, 
" togged up the lorftiest and the deepest trooths of fee- 
losophy in the nervis Saxon o' the common pe'pl'. Mr. 
Sprouts," he sez, " Mr. Somebody" — for I couldn't 
catch the name — " Mr. Somebody, Mr. Sprouts." 

" Yes," I sez, " my lord, that's me, by the descrip- 
tion ; by the bye," I sez, " you dress them waiter fellers 
o' yours up too fine ; you do, indeed. They must be 
pretty nigh as expensive as the turtle soup, and they 
ain't half as useful." 

The old gent I was introduced to was a reader of one 
of my favorite noosepapers, and as soon as we found 
out what one another's prinserples was we was as happy 
together as two kittens, and made up our minds to sit 
together, if possible, the rest of the evenin'. 

After we'd spoken to the Lord Mare heaps o' people 
come fiockin' in, and makin' their bows, till the feller 
with the sugar stick got quite hoarse bawlin' out their 
names. There was light weights and heavy weights, 
captings and kurnels, aldermen and members o' Parlia- 
ment, fishmongers and clothworkers, grocers and salters, 
and benchers and bars, all treadin' on the ladies' dresses 
and bumpin' one another till the diamonds shivered agin 
in the light o' the lamps. There was little old chaps 
with big frilled night-caps sewed on to their shirt fronts, 
and about six or seven yards of gold chain wound round 
their necks, like sperrits tied up for the rope trick ; and 
there was young fellers tryin' to look as if they did that 
sort o' thing every day, only this was a little worse than 
what they was generally accustomed to ; but I always 
noticed that them as you reads most about in the papers, 
and hears of in a manner o' speaking everywhere, was 
the most quiet — especially the aldermen, as was that 
silent and thin most of 'em that it was quite a disap- 
pointment, for I always thought they was lifted about 
by pulleys. By-and-by the feller sings out " General 
Sir Hope Grant," and in came a party as didn't make a 
bit of noise, but ducked his head and walked on one 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 167 

side quietly when he'd done it, as if he was glad it was 
all over. 

" There's a pretty bow for a general as has seen so 
much fightin', and wopped them Chinee pagodies till 
they was glad to throw up the sponge !" thinks I. I'd 
made a sort o' picter of him to myself afore he come in, 
and I fancied he'd have a splendid pair of coal black 
mustarchers, and keep twirlin' of 'em and singin' out 
" Damme," and rattlin' of his sword. But no ; nor 
more did old Gineral Burgoin, as 'ad his buzzum 
kivered with crosses ; nor Admiral Dakin either. There 
wasn't one on 'em as did it in half the style of our 
chairman at the club suppers — pore things ! 

Presently there was a bit of a fluster outside, and we 
heard the band a playin' " God Save the Queen •" and 
out went the Lord Mare, and all the aldermen huddled 
on their gownds and went after 'im, and who should 
come in but the Juke of Cambridge, lookin' jest as if it 
was to be, and smilin' on all of us, me especially, as 
much as to say, "I'm dyin' to speak to you, Sprouts, 
but I ain't got time." 

Soon after that we all marched through the hall 
(where the poor bandsmen was blowing theirselves into 
a appetite) and went in to dinner. It was a tremenjus 
large room, as high as a church, with pillows reachin' 
right up to the sealin', and tables goin' round it in oval 
sort of circles till you lost yourself in the passages 
between 'em. At last we all got in our places, and a 
short grace was said (I notice people always has short 
graces when there's turtle soup), and then we all fell 
too. 

There's no mistake about them Mansion House turtles 
— you can see 'em swimmin' about in the soup, and jest 
as full of life as ever, I do believe, after all the boilin', 
for I give chase to a young one in the basin with 
my spoon, and do all I could I couldn't manage to lay 
hold on him. He was up and down and over and 
under, and when I was fishin' for him in one corner he 



168 MR. SPROUTS BIS OPINIONS. 

kep comin' up in a fresh place, and all the while lookin' 
as green as any countryman, as if he was tryin' to make 
believe he didn't know I wanted him ; till at last I pins 
my lord just by his waist agin the side, and lugged him 
out. 

u You shan't live to worrit any of your master's 
friends any more, my child," I sez, and I devoured 'im. 

What funny fellers them waiters is ! There was a 
pore old thing behind my chair as looked as withered 
up as if he'd bin fried, but he was uncommon attentive, 
and kept bobbin' about me and my friend in the 
specktikles as industrious as a bee. I had a bit of a 
scuffle with him about the third plate of soup, which 
is a thing waiters can never make up their minds to let 
you enjoy in peace ; but arter that he brought me some 
sort o' dish as looked very nice and brown, and I 
helped myself to a good slice. There was some little 
white things, too, along with it, but I didn't take no 
account o' them. 

But it was a trick of the Lord Mare after all, mind 
ye ; for what d'ye think it was ? Jest a bit of dry toast, 
kivered with gravy, and no more. It may be a great 
lark in its way to send such rubbish round, but I 'ate 
praktical jokin' at meals, so I sez to the waiter, " Here, 
hi," I sez, "what do you call yourself?" 

" I am one of the waiters, sir," sez he. 

u I know that," I sez ; " but what's your name ?" 

" Timmerthy, sir," sez he. 

" Timmerthy what ?" I sez. 

"Timmerthy Higgins," sez he. 

" Well," I sez, •" I don't want to have no words with 
ye, Timmerthy, for you're a man in years ; but mind, 
don't get playin' any of your dry toast larks with me 
any more. Act square by me, and there's fourpense for 
yer when I go away, as sure as my name's Sprouts." 

The pore old thing looked scared enuff, and wanted 
to persuade me there'd been fish on the dish as well, but 
it wouldn't do. 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 169 

" What else would yer please to take, sir ?" he sez, 
pintin' to a kard as stood on the table in front of us. 

Another of their shabby tricks. The card was 
crowded with the names o' things, but every one on 
'em in some furrin languidge as nobody but a Mounseer 
or the, devil could make sense of, and there was I sittin' 
in the midst o' plenty, as the sayin'is, and starvin' all the 
time, while the man in the specktikles was eatin' till the 
table round him begun to look like a desert. 

He was a strange feller, that man in the specktikles. 
He told me his polliticks was all in favour of supportin' 
the constitution, and I should think they was, for he 
was as round as a dray-horse. He did nothin' but eat, 
eat, eat, without stoppin', and never spoke except when 
he laid down his knife and fork, while he was waitin' 
for somethin' else, and then he'd bend over to me, and 
visper quite low and gentle, " Wait for the pie. Mind 
yer keep a corner for the pie." 

" What pie ?" I sez at last, after he'd tanterlised me 
like this three or four times. 

" Why," he sez, " the five guinea pie with truffles in 
it, of course," he sez ; " it's the gem of the evenin'. 
Mind yer keep a corner for it," he sez, and then he 
went on eatin' agin. 

" I think I shall be all corners," I sez, taking up the 
card the old waiter give me, and runnin the pint of my 
fork down it at a ventur'. At last I come to the word 
" entrymets," and I sez, " Let's 'ave some of that," for 
I fancied somehow it sounded as if there was meat in it. 

" I can't understand French, sir," says the old waiter, 
and he reely didn't look as if he could. "Will yer 
'ave the goodness to tell me what it is in English ?" 

There I was nonplushed agin. 'Owsumever, I turns 
round to the fat feller, and I sez, " What may be the 
meanin' of this here word, sir ?" sez I. 

" Meanin' ?" he sez, rubbin' his ed ^ "meanin'? Vy 
it's — no, bless me, it ain't — vy deer me, yes ; leastways 
it's ' extremities,' in course." 



170 MR, SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

"Well, then, Timmerthy, bring us a plate full of 
extremities, and another to follow," I sez, " and be 
quick about it, for I feels considerable more like a 
panther than a civil huming bein\" 

By-and-by up he come, tearin' like a steam engin, 
with a pertater and something smothered in gravy like 
the last, and d'rekly he put it down I took a mouthful 
of it, and began eatin' away most ravenous ; but it 
pricked my mouth jest as if I was chewin' a door-nail, 
and what d'ye think it was ? A bird's clar. 

" Mind yer keep a corner for the pie," sez the fat 
man, jest as he set to work on a fresh dish. " It's the 
gem of the evenin'." 

I was too saveg to speak. I'd been five-and-thirty 
minnits at it by this time, and all I'd had was a drop o' 
soup, a pertater, a bit o' dry toast, and a bird's clar. 
"All right," I sez to myself; "all right, my lord, I 
won't say a word about this when I get up to drink 
your health ; oh, no. I won't tell 'em I left a good 
supper o' mussels to come here to be starved — in course 
not. Go it Timmerthy, my chikken," I sez sarcastic, 
the next time he come round, " I should like a few 
winkel shells and some gravy for the next dose if you 
could mannij to get 'em for me." 

" Yes, sir," he sez, quite serius ; for he always said 
" Yes" to everything, and off he whisked agin. 

All this time the clatter of other people's knives and 
forks was quite maddenin', for I couldn't get a chance 
of usin' mine ; and in the midst of it all the fat man 
looks up, and sez 'e, " Ah," he sez, " here it comes," 
sez he. " There's the five guinea pie at last," sez he. 

There was jest about arf of it left. I caught hold o' 
my knife and fork and put the mustard and salt in front 
of me, all reddy to begin as soon as I got my share, 
when the old villin, without so much as givin' me a look, 
turned the whole lot of it into his plate, and set to work 
on it as if he 'adn't seen vittels for a fortnite. By-and- 
by he looks round to me, with a greasy sort o' smile, 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 171 

and he sez, " We was jest in time, Mr. Sprouts ; there 
wasn't above fifty shillins' worth of it left ;" and then he 
fell upon it agin. 

I couldn't answer 'im ; I was sinkin' fast. 

" That's a truffle," he sez, a minnit or two after, 
holdin' up a little black thing on 'is fork, and the next 
moment he gulped it down. 

" Timmerthy,'' I sez, faintly, " Timmerthy •," but 
Higgins couldn't hear me. 

By-and-by the fat man stopped rattlin' his knife and 
fork, and Timmerthy come back and sez 'e, " The 
winkles isn't up yet, sir," he sez, " but there's a nice 
puddin', if you'd like some o' that." 

That revived me. " Yes," I sez ; " anything will 
do ; bring me a large slice o' that." And he give me a 
bit of some sort o' pink stuff, as looked very temptin' ; 
and the moment I got it I put about half of it into my 
mouth at once. 

Oh ! oh ! oh ! I shivers as I writes ; the very 
thought on it sets me all in a tremble. It was that 
everlastin' cold as if it had been beried at the bottom of 
an ice well for the last half dozen years, and it set all 
my teeth a hakin' — upper and lower, back and front — 
throb, throb, throb, as if there was a dentist's apprentice 
luggin' at every one. If I lives to be as old as Arethusa 
I shall never forget that slice o' frozen jam at the Lord 
Mare's feast. 

" I don't complain of yer, Timmerthy," I sez. " I 
thought yer was havin' a lark on yer own account when 
yer brought me the stued extremities, but I find you're 
actin' accordin' to your master's orders, as 've got a 
spite agin' me, as never did him any harm. It goes 
agin' my natur to refuse yer the fourpense arter I'd 'arf 
promised it. But I put it to yer as a wayter whether 
you can honestly lay your hand upon your hart and say 
as you think I've 'ad a fair fourpennorth." 

Then they brought round some sented water in a 
large dish, and when it come to the fat man he dipped 



172 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

his cloth in it and wiped his fingers and his lips, and 
then dabbed it behind his ears. 

" Always cool yer ears, Mr. Sprouts," he sez, smilin'. 
" It gives yer a fresh appetite for the desert," sez 'e. 
" They was the last words my pore father ever said to 
me afore he was took with appyplexy, and they made 
that impression on me I shall never forgit 'em. ' Joshua,' 
he sez, weepin', ' always cool your ears. I neglected to 
do it the last time I went out to dinner,' he sez, ' and 
it's bin the deth of me.' " 

Arter that they begun speechifyin', and when the 
Juke o' Cambridge had given his speech there was some 
songs, and a young lady giv us one in partickler, called 
" The Skipper and his Boy," about a fisherman, and his 
son as goes out a fishin' and gets drowned instid. 

Somehow or other a woman singing always makes a 
fool of me in a minnit. I don't know much about the 
angils, more's the pity ; but I can't help feelin' it must 
be something like that up above. Every one o' them 
notes was as clear as if it was blown through a silver 
trumpet, and while it was goin' on I fancied I could see 
the flashes o' the lightnin' and the boy a clingin' to 'is 
father's breast, and the poor mother watchin' at the 
dore, and first cryin' and then prayin' a bit, and then 
cryin' agin till the grey mornin' comes, and she picks 
up the pore lad's hankecher upon the beech, and knows 
it's all over, 

" Ain't it lovely ?" I sez to the fat man, for I felt I 
must speak to somebody. 

" Yes," he sez, in a sort o' gurgle, "it was the gem 
of the eveninV 

" Which did yer like the best ?" I sez. 

ic The pie with the truffles in it," sez 'e, and then he 
went off into a doze. 

Arter this song was over I sez to myselr, " Now's 
your time or never, Josef," I sez ; " if yer hears another 
song- like that yer heart'll get as soft as a kitten," so up 
I jumps. 



A MANSION HOUSE BANQUET. 173 

"Order, gents," I sez, "for a few minnits," and 
they all turned round — dukes and aldermen, waiters and 
toastmasters, to look at me. " I'm not going to say as 
anybody can help bein' Lord Mare if people choose to 
make 'im one," I sez, " and IVe nothin' to say agin the 
waiters, Timmerthy Higgins in partickler, as has run 
his legs pretty nigh off to serve me, and lost his four- 
pense too. (Amoosement.) I dun'no as I've got much 
to say agin ycu either, my lord," I sez, " but I've 
got a good deal to say agin your ' dry toast extremities.' 
(Guffaws.) I know very well it's expensive work to 
give even a snack to all these people," I sez ; "but 
don't you think that porter and pork chops would be a 
good bit better than these kickshaw messes, as ain't got 
strength enough in 'em to wean a puppy ? (Loud 
smilin.) Look at yer aldermen. Why, they're gettin' 
as thin as herrins. I've seen a good deal in the papers 
lately about Reform in the corporations, but I never 
knew the meanin' of it till to-night, and I also heerd a 
good bit sed agin your measures, and I've never jined in, 
but I'm bound to tell yer now I don't like neither your 
measures nor your weights. I came here, my lord, 
expectin' to have to cut my weskit open before the 
night was done, and instead o' that I've had to buckle 
it in. I've alius been a friend to the City, and if this 
heer's a bit of spite got up agin me bekos I used to drop 
a hoyster-shell on the state-barge when the procession 
went under the bridges in days gone by, all I can say 
is — It's shabby." 

All this while the whole on 'em was starin' at me 
with their eyes wide open. The Lord Mare looked 
as merry as a owl, and the feller behind his chair kept 
shaking his stick at me to leave off; but not I. 'Owsum- 
ever, when I got so far, I sez, " Good night, my Lord 
Mare, and plessunt vishuns, though, goodness knows, 
mine'll be light enough. Yer needn't trouble yerself 
to send any more invitations to Collyflour-alley," I sez, 
" and so, farewell." 



174 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

And off I walked. Some on 'em pinted to the wine- 
bottles and larfed as if I was that way infected, but I 
wasn't though. 

There was ill-luck everywhere in the place. I'd put 
a bit of beef as I'd got out of one of the side rooms into 
my hat, and I was goin' down stairs, beaver in 'and, 
past the perleesman, when the cussed spring gave way, 
and jerked the meat right to the bottom of the Mansion 
House steps, and there I let it lay, for I was too riled 
to care for anything but gettin' home. 

I dined on mussels, arter all. 



THE FAMINE IN INDIA. 

TT7E was all a sittin' at dinner on Sunday, the only 
* * meal we ever haves together, and things was goin' 
well ; the pork and baked pertaters was done to a turn, 
the turnips was luvly, and the gravy was good. It was 
jest that happy moment between the disappearance of 
the jint and the arrival of the pudden, when natur', half 
baffled by the crackling half appeased by the sturfin' 
and pertaters, can look forward with temperit expecta- 
tion to the futur', and calmly inkwire whether it's to be 
roley-poley pudden or apple-pie. Betsy said it would 
be pie, and while she was a gettin' of it I read the paper 
according to my custom. The children whispered 
"pie" to one another, and jingled with their knives 
and phawks, and tickled one another underneath the 
table for very joy, and I pretended not to hear it ; and 
even the cat seemed to feel that I wasn't sich a villin 
as he thought I was, and come and rubbed his nose 
agin my leg. The paper was very inter estin', and I 
sprung from flower to flower, tastin' none, like a grass- 
hopper in a field o' daisies. "Departer o' the Volun- 



THE FAMINE IN INDIA. 175 

teers from Belgium," " Dinner of the Conservatif Asso- 
ciation," " Fashionable Movements of the Earl of So- 
and-So," and " Marriage in High Life betwixt Thingamy 
and the Fair Dauter of somebody else." 

Suddintly I received a vilent shock, for jist as I was 
a goin' to lay the paper down I stumbled bolt upon the 
follerin' : — 

" India. 

" Further news of the famine at Orissa and its neighbour- 
hood, on the south-west coast of Bengal, has reached us. It 
is calculated that from two to two and a-half millions of 
people have perished of hunger in five months — that is to say, 
twice the population of Denmark or of Greece, eight SufTolks, 
six Hampshires, five-sixths of Scotland, or five hundred 
thousand heads of houses, five hundred thousand mothers, and 
fifteen hundred thousand children. 

" The present revenue of India is ^46,000,000/., and there 
are ^14,000,000 in the treasuries. 

" The Viceroy is in the hills." 

And that was all. Now, if I had had time to be 
prepared for it, I shouldn't have cared ; but comin' on 
me in this naked way it kind o' ketched me like a stitch 
in the side, and sez I to Betsy, " You can help the 
children, but I won't take no pie to-day, I thank yer, 
Mrs. Sprouts— I'm full." 

" What do yer mean, Josef, my dear ?" says Betsy — 
" indisgestion ?" 

" No, my luv," sez I, " telegrams." And I handed 
her the paper, and one minnit arter she had read that 
she was sobbin' as if her heart would break, and kiss, 
kiss, kissin' our youngest child, which she had clutched 
away from the table, spoon in hand, before he had time 
to finish his pie ; while the cat, which is unused to 
these sort of interruptions at meals, looked up from his 
bone, give a short ironical sneeze, and floo under the 
dresser. 

" Oh, Josef," says Elizabeth, " isn't it a'most enough 



176 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

to make yer ask yourself whether the Bible's true ? 
Oh, them poor black mothers with their hungry babies ! 
Oh, my God !" 

u You mustn't take on so, Betsy, none the more for 
that," says I. "Look how you've frightened all the 
children." 

I'd hardly finished before down she dabs the child 
agin, and makin' a dash at his plate she filled it up with 
sich a slice of pie as I never see, except in a pantomime, 
in my life. "Eat, children, eat for God's sake, and 
have your fill," she says, serving the rest on 'em the 
same as fast as she could ladle ; and in course they fell 
to agin with all the readiness of youth, when it fancies 
it sees a short cut to a appyplexy. 

" Oh, Josef !" says Betsy, " two million people starved 
to death ! What has the Queen bin doin', and where 
was the Housis of Parlyment, and what was the Gover- 
ment a thinkin' of, and what did all the clergymen in 
the House of Lords say, and where was the generals of 
the army, and where was the ships of the navy — where 
was everybody that had the power to order, and the 
wherewithal to give, while two million of people 
was bein' starved to death ?" You see, she is a simple, 
unedicated creatur', and talks very much as her diges- 
tion guides her. 

"The Queen, my dear," I sez, "has bin in retire- 
ment, and the Housis o' Parlyment was bizzy phessunt 
shootin', and the Goverment was a-sueing Mr. Snider, 
and the clergy had their exhibition of Roming candles 
and clothes, and the generals was a lookin' arter their 
pickles, and the ships was tryin' experryments with a 
patent gun. Everywhere — everywhere, as the papers 
sez, man has been actif and progressive, and the pleasin 
result is thirteen shots a minnit, and a broadside of two 
hundred and fifty pounders with the chill off." 

"And what have you bin doin', you old hidget?" 
sez Betsy. 

I was rayther upset by the questin, but I set it down 



THE FAMINE IN INDIA. 177 

to her ignorance, poor creetur, so I simply said, " I 
have bin tryin' to be literairy, my dear." 

" And all the other poets and paper smiters — where 
was they," cries she, a stampin' with her foot, u while 
the bowels of a couple o' million of the Almighty's 
creetur s was wastin' away for want of food ?" " Chiefly 
subscribing to the Eyre Fund," says I, enterin' a dig- 
nified protest agin the tyranny of numbers. "You 
have got a very poor head for Aggers, Mrs. Sprouts," 
I sez, " or you wouldn't ask sich foolish questins." 

"Then whose fault was it," says she, rocking back- 
wards and forrards in her chair — U I want to know 

whose fault was it that two million o' people 

Why, the mind can't think on it, Josef, dear," she sez, 
a-sobbin'. You can't get no idee about the numbers. 
Five hundred thousand fathers ! Why, if starvation 
was to overtake half-a-dozen Lord Mare's Shows it 
wouldn't be nothink to it. Five hundred thousand 
mothers ! And can so many hearts break, and still 
the world go on ? Fifteen hundred thousand children f ! 
Are there so many angels, then, in Fleaven ? But it 
can't be true. Surely the wise people that is sent to 
rule us must ha' knowed the famine was a comin'." 

" Yes, they knowed it was a comin'. People wrote 
and told 'em on it months afore it come," says I ; " but 
what o' that ?" 

" And what did they do ? Tell me that," she sez — 
" what did they do ?" 

" Why, they waited till it come, I s'pose," sez I. I 
was a gettin' rayther uncomfortable, for somehow I 
hate cross questions ; it alius reminds me of havin' to 
pay a fine. 

And then she sez, u When it did come, what then ?" 

" They telegraffed out to England for subscriptions." 

"But what was the people doin' while the subscrip- 
tions was a bein' riz ?" 

" Dyin' in every city, in every villi], in every farm, in 
every little cabin, among the hills, over a space o' 

N 



178 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

ground larger than all England and Wales. None but 
the dead left to bury the dead. Dogs a feedin' on the 
carcases. The very chickens peckin' one another for 
the want o' grain ; the women sellin' one child for a 
draught o' milk, an4 dyin' before they could put it to 
the other's lips ; the markits empty ; the law courts 
silent ; the crow of babies turned into the death-rattle, 
and the boastin' talk of mothers into one loud continyel 
wail that for five months went up night and day, and 
day and night, to the Throne of God." I was obliged 
to stop myself here, for I found I was a goin' on too 
fast. It's wonderful how catchin' is a woman's tears. 

" But was there no stores of things to eat in the other 
parts of Indy ?" sez my wife. " Why didn't the Go- 
vernment that was sent to rule 'em send em food ?" 

" Well, so they did," I sez ; " but they hadn't got 
no money to buy it with when it was sent." 

" Then why didn't they give it 'em ?" 

"What, Government give the food without the 
money ! Why, then they'd have had to pay for it 
theirselves, and what would ha' become of their seven- 
teen million pounds o' money which they'd saved up 
and put away ?" 

" O, may their seventeen millions be a curse to 'em," 
cried Betsy, in her random way, " if they saved a penny 
of it while there was hungry mouths to feed !" 

" I can assure you, my dear," sez I, " that nothing 
could ha' bin done. They starved quite accordin' to 
rool. It seems they're alius starvin' over there, and 
they've got in a manner o' speakin' used to it, though 
I'm not a-goin' for to say but what it hurts 'em. Still, 
you see, there's bin so many famines that they've got 
quite a regilar way of dealin' with 'em, which they're 
obliged to stick to it, or else the Government couldn't' 
be carried on. The Government's not supposed to 
know anythink about the famine till the people begins to 
die, which is what we calls a legal notice ; but as soon 
as they find the people reely is a-dyin', they stirs them- 



THE FAMINE IN INDIA, 170 

selves, from the biggest big-wig to the very park-keepers > 
and immejutly appoints that triump of actif wisdom called 
a board. Then the big-wigs goes up to their country 
seats and haves high jinks there with all the big-wigs 
in the neighbourhood, like virtuous people which have 
done their best. Meantime, the board begins to work 
with all the dare-devil dash and rashness which belongs 
to boards. Directly they meets every morning in comes 
that most sacred institootion, the beadle, and makes his 
bow. " How many dead last night ?" says the board. 
" Three hundred and fifty, an' please your honours," 
says the beadle. " Thankye," says the board. " I 
move that that news be telegraffed to the Governor- 
General," says one o' the splinters. " I beg to second 
that," says another. " Hold hard," cries the sekky- 
terry, "that's agin Rool 225, and it can't be done." 
This brings on a pretty lively debait, but the tellygraff 
party carries it, and off it goes. That is what they calls 
a statistick ; and as soon as the Governor- General gits 
it, he sends it off to us in England, and the board goes 
off to lunch. As soon as we gits the news in England 
we begins to raise subscripshuns ; and there, you see, 
how beautiful is the laws of property. There's plenty 
o' food a waitin', an' plenty o' ships to carry it, but tilt 
the money's raised to pay for it, not a penn'orth of it 
stirs. This way of dealin' with a famine is named 
routeen, and when the people die in spite of it, it's what 
they calls a dispensation of Providence, and we pray for 
'em in the churches. But jest consider what might 
happen, Betsy, if the Goverment went on in your 
harum-skarum way. If the Governor-General was to 
spend the Goverment money he might be sent for to 
come back to England in disgrace, and lose his title and 
-his honours, and there'd be a pretty how d'ye do for 
the children of a British swell to think their father lost 
his sitivation through not knowin' which was the most 
vallyable — English sovereigns or Injun blacks." 

" Ah, we don't go on in that way now," says Betsy, 



180 MR. SPROUTS EIS OPINIONS. 

" for you don't mean it, dear, I know. With all your 
cunnin', you was the innercentest man alive when fust I 
knew yer. The Joe I fell in love with was a rough- 
and-ready, word-and-blow young feller, with a heart 
inside of him which whatever it told him he should do 
he did it, and was pretty nearly alius right. Be the 
same Joe. Be like him, for I don't want to marry 
twice. Ah, since you've took up with them nasty 
Tories, how much you're changed. You calls your 
fine old noble natur instinkt, and tries to shake it off, 
and put a fine new thing called reason in its place, but 
you wasn't made for reason, Joe, nor reason made for 
you ; there isn't enough sperrit in it to keep yer warm, 
and I sometimes thinks that what's the case with you is 
the case with pretty nigh all the rest of English people, 
great and small. There's a sort o' devilish hardness — 
mind, I'm not a swearin' — comin' over people which 
sickens me, and frightens me the more I think about 
and see it. They git astride o' big-named hobby-horses, 
which runs away with 'em, and leaves love and simple- 
ness and manhood far behind. Look at every whipper- 
snapper boy, whose mother kep a chandler's shop, and 
was a credit to her station — he togs hisself in black and 
white and shiny leather, and talks about the ignorance 
of the masses, and asks where property and intelligence 
is a-goin' to if you gives power to the hy dry-headed 
mob. That's reason, and, you see, it only lands the 
pore spooney in a furze bush full o' knotty points and 
prickles, as a high-bred donkey does a Cockney up at 
Hampstead 'Eath. Wouldn't it be well, before he talks 
of property and intelligence, — neither o' which belongs 
to him — to think a bit of poverty and ignorance, and 
put his shoulder to that wheel, and try to give it a histe 
on to dryer ground ? As for his betters, where are 
they ? Why, sittin' astride o' reason, too, and gallopin' 
over sympathies and feelings in their mad race to the 
devil. Hundreds o' blacks is cut to pieces in Jamaky, 
their houses burnt, their women flogged. Says Feelin', 



THE FAMINE IN INDIA. 181 

' What a shame !' and down she sits and sobs out 
* Murder/ for that's the English word. ' Oh, no/ says 
Reason, ' that's what we calls a measure of repression, 
a part and parcel of the art o' government.' And when 
we listens for the great voices that God sent to march 
before us in the darkness and show the way — why, 
what say they ? they tell us killin' ain't murder, and call 
it pretty names — as ' British energy/ and * preservation 
of order/ and the like ; and puts their ginnies down to 
feast the murderer, till we begins to feel as they have 
let their lamps drop, and is gropin' about in a wusser 
darkness than ourselves. And as for this here famine, 
I tell yer, Joe, if the wail of fifteen hundred thousand 
infants, black or white, a-clingin' to their mothers' milk- 
less breasts, is not loud enough for us to hear with all 
our reason, yet it will be heerd for all that ; and it will 
be the wuss for us that we didn't stop and listen to it 
before it went up to the judgment seat o' God." 

With that the old lady took and put the empty pie 
dish in the cupboard, and then she kissed the children, 
which had made theirselves round and podgy as little 
sawdust dolls, and finished up with me. I kissed 'em 
too, and for a few moments the " Grand Conservatif 
policy" and "Propperty and intelligence" looked so 
mouldy, that I'd ha' parted with 'em considerable under 
cost price ; but arter a bit, as reason slowly got the 
better on me, my eyes got dry, I pushed the children 
off my knee and cuffed the kat, and finished up with a 
article in the Times. 



182 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS, 



A FEW CRUMBS. 

KNOO a old man in my youth that I used to meet 
in a sertain spot every evenin, in a well-brushed hat 
konsiderably the wuss for grease. I alius used to saloot 
im with these words, " Ah, there you are agin, Mr. 
Snaffle, and where may yer be bound for now ?" and 
he alius used to reply " Going to pick up a few crums, 
Mr. Sprouts ; going to pick up a few crums/' He 
ment he was going to chapel ; but that was his poetikal 
way of expressing hisself. He arterards tride to kom- 
mit a bigamy, and I have not seen im since. 

The presint remarks will be in the natur of a few 
crums — they cannot be called a loaf, for there is nothin 
to bind em together. I have borrered that old man's 
words for a title, but I have not borrered any of his 
habits. I am still the husband of one wife. 

There is a tide in the affairs of every ally when their 
appens one of them periodikal visitations kalled a Irish 
fite. At sich times the peaseful stranger returnin ome- 
wards in the evenin from his work is met at the top of 
the ally by a Irishman which steps out of a hidin plase 
and sez to im, " Good evenin' to yer, Mr. So-and-so, 
and ow do ye find yourself, honey, and which side do 
ye sthrike for, the Driskolls or the M' Joys ?" And 
then another Irishman steps out from a opperzite hidin 
plase, and he sez exackly the same ; which questions 
puts yew in this ticklish position — if you sez you're for 
the M'Joys you're sure to git your hed broke by the 
ambassydur to the Driskolls, and if you sez you're for 
the Driskolls you'll git your krown cracked by the 
famerly fysishian to the M'Joys ; and if you sez you're 
neither for one nor t'other, they'll both forget their petty 



A FEW CRUMBS. 183 

differences in a momint, and play " Rory O'More" upon 
your bump o' benevolense together. 

The reason of this is bekos they're a sperrited people 
and can pardon a feller for takin the wrong side, but 
can't forgive him for takin no side at all. For my part, 
I was for sum time unable to understand what sperrit 
ment. But before and arter our union my wife was 
alius sneerin at me for the want of it, and akkordin to 
her idees it seemed to konsist in a tendiansy to striking 
people fust and arterwards askin em to explane their- 
selves. Like all her sekt, she was very fond of sperrited 
men. One nite I was takin her out for a walk, and in 
turnin abruply round a korner I neerly knocked a me- 
dian! ck down. I begged his pardin and parsed on, 
whereupon my gentle pardner remarked in a somewhat 
vinnegery tone that " pussons wich undertook the kare 
of weak and tremmylous feemails ought for to be reddy 
to defend em." " What d'ye mean ?" sez I. " Oh, 
nothin," sez she, " only sum people is sperrited and sum 
is not — that's all." Whereupon I depozited her in a 
cook shop for safety and went back to the mechanick 
and proudly asked im what he meant by b i mpin aginst 
his betters. " Oh," sez he, in a slitely fuirin aksent, 
" is that what ye mane, darlin ? — step this way," and 
he took me up a court and in the short space of fiftene 
minnits gave me the kompletist thrashin I ever had in 
my life. " I ope you haven't punished im too severely, 
deer," says Elizurbeth when I kum back. " No," sez 
I gloomy, " he still lives, but I fansy by this time he 
knows the difference between a man of sperrit and a 
kur ; " and then she embrased me warmly, and sez she, 
" Ah, if you was alius to akt like that, luv, ow much 
appier we should both on us be !" She was very joviel 
for the remaneder of the evenin. Yet, strange to say, 
there was a dampness about my feelins that I couldn't 
shake off. Such is the effekts of sperrit. But to 
resoom. 

It strikes me that the row now goin on in England 



184 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

at the presint time is. very much like the Irish fite, par- 
ticklerly in this respect, that you must jine on one side 
or the other, seein that it is gettin more and more im- 
possible to keep out of it every day. It is a tussel wich 
has bin goin on ever since the world was a world — the 
tussel between two classes to see wich is best man • be- 
tween the one class wich, up to the presint time, has 
had the cheef place on the box seat, and the whip and 
the ribbins pretty much in its own hands, and the other 
class which as hitherto up to the presint bin kwietly 
sittin in the body o' the karryvan, and bin druv akkordin 
to the sweet pleshure of the driver. The kwestin now 
is which shall hold the ribbins ; which shall be best 
man — nothin less. At fust there was a weak attempt 
of the Radekals to deny this — they kum forrard very 
civel with their kaps off, and sez they, " We fancy 
you've bin a bumpin of us lately, and that you've lost 
your way ; we fancy the road is rayther knubbly, and 
that the wehicle would git along better if you'd let us 
take a turn at the rains ;" but, " No," says our coach- 
man, proudly, " I was born the driver of this wehicle, 
my friends, and though these arms may be old and 
feeble, its driver I will remain ; and what is more," he 
sez, a crackin of his whip, " if yew kum to me with 
any more ungrateful murmurins, i" will stem your tide'' 
And so it become a reglar tussel for the box seat. 

Was not this nobel ? Him and hisn was a still small 
party beginnin to suffer from indigession and rayther 
weak in the wrists ; them and theirn was young and 
lusty, and outnumbered him and hisn as twenty to one. 
Abuv all, was it not sperrited, was it not wise ? 

This sort o' thing is kalled the art o' government. 
We're apprentised to it arter we leeves the univer- 
seeties. 

Before a grate battel is komin off in one of the back 
settlements there's nothink so butiful as to sit at a garrit 
windy and watch the marshallin of the forses, to wonder 
which side the greengrocer '11 take, to notis the milkman 



A FEW CRUMBS. 185 

boldly kastin in his lot with the undertaker, and the 
undertaker proudly holdin aloof till he's made up his 
mind which side is likely to have most to berry. This 
sort of marshallin is going on in our deer old England 
jest now. One qwestin arter another kums up and 
separates men from one another as butiful as a patent 
sieve ; them that yields to the perpetyel motion among 
huming arms and heads, and stirs themselves and falls 
throo the sieve, is kalled the " 'erd" and the " infinit 
menny," and forms a party by theirselves ; but them as 
can't be got to stir with all the shakin, but remanes 
exackly where they was, is kalled the " superior klasses," 
the " assortid few," " propperty and intelligense," and 
other devil-may-kare names, and forms another party 
too. A enlitened selfishniss makes a man like to see 
Piggins walk into 'is trap instid of his naybur's, and as 
I'm one of the enlitened few, I must konfess to a slite 
feelin of rapter when I behold another rekroot pocket 
the shillin so lib'rally offered under that flag — and don't 
I behold it every day ? When I see a judge frownin at 
one union man who earns a pound a week, while he 
winks at the other who earns forty; when I see a 
patriot which prayed for the life of Davis, perspirin for 
the death of Burke ; when I heer a warrior say that to 
teach English cittyzens to know their rites is to teach 
robbers to know their power ; and when I heer a huming 
being deklare that what is murder at Seven Diles is 
simply martial law in Jamaky — I cries "Hooray! 
another for our side." 

Arter the rekrootin and the drillin, the marchin and 
the takin up of persitions, the battle kums ; and then, 
amid brite fireworks and a host of other startlin effeckts, 
pervided qwite regardliss of expense, the puzzlin kwestin 
is settled — who's best man. 

A short penny readin from the history of our natif 
land : — 

" When Providence, wishin to give the Scots an 
excuse for buildin a monnyment, allowed em to win the 



186 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

battel of Bannickburn, the English army was upset by 
fallin hed over eels into sum pits artfully konsealed from 
view with Kaledonian birdlime and twigs. As soon as 
they was well in the pits a kwantity of old ladies 
emerjed from Free Kurk Presbyterean Meeting-house, 
where they had hitherto bin prayin in ambush, and 
played a seleckshun of nashional airs on the heds of the 
British, with stools, and hymn books, bits of the old 
red sandstone, and porshions of the pews. Those of 
our brave kountrymen which had not fell into the pits 
immejutly returned 'ome ; the battle was won, and the 
king ordered hot haggis all round, whisky, and other 
rejoicins." 

Moral : Never despise the elp of the aged wimmen 
— they can be as spiteful as anybody in a good cause. 

I have all along had the idee that the next moove 
our party ought to play in the battel with the Radekals 
is to fall back on the House o' Lords, and I took the 
liberty of saying so the other day at a sort of privit 
counsel of war, kalled to konsider in which direckshun 
we should run away. It was more of a frendly talk 
than a bizniss affair, and we sit in the third room on 
the rite over the kole-sellar as you go into Downing- 
street from Whitehall — a clean plase, paved with stone, 
where the servints ushilly takes their meels. 

Ben seemed to like the notion. "It seems in 'armony 
with the theory of the constitootion, Joe," he sez. " I 
have orfen thawt that the House ot Lords was ment to 
be like one o' them steambote pads which they throws 
overboard to prevent the hed of the vessel from gratin' 
aginst the peer ; it is a kind of buffer, in fack, a colleck- 
shun of buffers, which is to be used to deaden the shock 
whenever the two parties in the State threatens to bump 
ore another." 

Peel, who was presint as a frend, remarked that the 
House of Lords was kreatid long before the invenshion 
of steambotes. 

Ben sed that had nothink to do with the argyment ; 



A FEW CRUMBS. 187 

it was proberble that the idee of the steambote pad 
which he had took the liberty to use as a illustration 
was fust derived from the House o' Lords. What he 
wanted to show was that, as at present existing they 
was a set of constitootional buffers or pads. Now, 
what was the bo ideel of a buffer ? Why, that it 
should be well stuffed with things kalkilated to resist 
pressure from without. Well, wasn't the House of 
Lords well stuffed ? They had rum noshions there, 
which it was found that not even the pressure of ages 
had kaused to stir a peg. 

Stanley said he thought the Lords showed sum symp- 
tims of Ravin' had too much korn ; he should be glad 
to see 'em a little more livelier at times. 

Ben sed he didn't see it at all : buffers had no rite to 
be lively, they had no bizniss with emoshon. Think 
of a steambote pad showin' sines of distress bekos a 
man was overbord. That was only one speciment of a 
set of errors that had got about concernin' the Upper 
House. Sum persons thawt the Lords ought to be the 
fathers of the people, and lead them forth when starvin' 
and troubled heer to find pease and plenty in other 
worlds. He himself in his youth had ventered to sketch 
out a rough idee of what the lord should be ; he had 
writ a pikter of a villij in which, as soon as the bell 
tolls in the mornin', the lord jumps out o' bed, puts on 
his slippers, and goes down to his front dore, where a 
long purcession of the paupers as lives around him is 
waitin' for their mornin' toke ; the lord destribbits the 
toke, and goes back to prayers ; and the people has a 
short sarvice also, windin' up with a hymn to Patiense ; 
then they turns out to work. He had since seen reason 
to beleev that even that was wrong, it cawsed the 
lord to exart himself too much — to bekum no longer a 
buffer, but a noosance ; and he was glad to see the 
aristokracy hadn't took his advice. His present opinyun 
of the Upper House was that it ought to be like a little 
Hevin below, where fellers could go and be qwiet, and 



188 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

he was pleesed to find that that view had bin took by 
one of the Lib'ral papers which spoke in a resint artikle 
of "such men as Lord Cranborn and Lord Stanley" 
bein' called "in the course of natur' to the Upper 
House." Ah, when one thought of how the world in 
general sweated, and toiled, and groaned — of the 
perpetyel heavings of the mass of sinfulness and poverty 
that riz up all around us on every side, ragin' with 
hunger and the madnisses of ignorance and depair — 
there was something magnifisent in the contrast exhi- 
bited by them immortal constitootional buffers, kalm 
with the swallerin' of much korn, dreamy with the 
contemplashun of riches they could never 'ope to kount, 
simmy and kareless as the gods of the heathens of old, 
and doing half the government of the nashion with the 
meer Parliamentary kushions that once a yeer reseeved 
the indentashions of their nobel forms. 

(Applaws. Snuff handid round, and cries of 
" Sprouts.") 

My speech was short. I said as I believed that what 
we had at presint met to konsider was "the next 
moove." I thought it was very simpel ; fust let the 
Commons give the Radekals everything they ask for, 
and even ask em if they'd like to have any more. Give 
everybody votes all round, and two to every pusson 
blessed with twins, in place of the ushel royal reward ; 
then send the bill up to the Lords with a prayer for its 
suksess. Let the Lords kick it out • this will put the 
affair off for another year or two, and meanwhile you 
are safe enough in orfis, for " haven't we dun every- 
thing we could, gentlemen ? — you see it isn't our fault." 
" If Reform is put off for a year or two, frends," sez I, 
" it is put off altogether, for who knows what may not 
happen in the meantime — war, famine, or pleg, or 
somethin' else in the natur' of a providential red-herrin' 
— to take the poppylar party off the sent ? When once 
the Lords has got you off this dooty you may remodel 
em if you like, for they won't be wantid agin; you 



CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION. 189 

may create as many life peers as they'll stand, and if 
they objeck to being idle, you may give 'em some lite 
dooties, sich as the licensin' of publik houses and regis- 
trashion of berths and deths." 

I have no space to deskribe what follered. It was 
arranged that my plan should have a' trial, and the fust 
step should be took in the shape of a " feeler" put 
forrard by the Times. 

Josef Sprouts. 



A CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S 
DEPUTATION. 

1 T^HAT'S to be done, then, to save the nashion, 

VV Joe?" 

The speaker was Ben, the list'ner was me. The 
apartment in which we sit was elegantly gilded ; it was 
in Downin'-street. There was whisky on the table ; 
there was more on it in the kupbord. Life ought to 
ha' seemed joyous, and yet our harts was low, 

"Bother the nashion," sez I, sulky, "let it save 
itself. I've saved it more than three times a week on a 
average for the last five months, and I don't think I've 
made more than eighteenpence a save." 

" Oh, don't talk like that, old man. 

" ' It'll nebber do to gib it up so, Mr. Brown, 
It'll nebber do to gib it up so, 7 " 

sez he, chantin' a broken fragmint of a kullered melody. 
" Try a little more of the invigorator. There, hi — 
without there, fill Mr. Sprouts's glarse." 

The descendint of one of the barrons that worrited 
King John now entered the room, on a salary of ninety 
pounds a yeer — havin' passed a examination in six 



190 MR. SPROUTS BIS OPINIONS. 

langwidges, three sienses, and all the back numbers of 
the hist'ry of the world from the beginnin' of the 
new series under Noar, for the privilige. He humbly 
filled the glarses, and withdroo. 

I sipped and meused, meused and sipped, strange 
idees flitted akross my brain, but none on 'em would 
do. At last sumthing flashed on me, and I looked up. 

" What is it, old man ?" 

" A deppytation of Conservatif working-men. ,, 

He was inokkulated, but it was some time before the 
idee took ; he seemed to have a difficulty in enlargin* 
his mind. He was silint for a few minnits, and kep* 
murmurin', " No, it's too ridiculus. But there, why 
should it be ?" he sez to hisself agin, " nothing's too 
ridiculus for this age." He looked up. 

" If I understand you ritely, Mr. Sprouts," sez he in 
severe offishial tones, " you knows a number of intelli- 
gent, respectable artisans who are only anxius for the 
oppertoonity to come forrard and express their confi- 
dence in her Majesty's Government." 

" Exackly," sez I. 

A wink and a mutuel poke in the ribs with the sugar- 
tongs is alius understood between men of the world. I 
was conduckted to a kind of powder-chest, on which 
was written the words " Sekret sarvice." I filled 
my pockits with ammynition, and shortly arterwards 
withdroo. 

I went back to Kolly flour-alley, Seven Piles, the 
old alley. I'm livin' there agin now. All my fortin is 
spent. My son is banish'd from my roof, and now 
delivers speeches on Clarkenwell-green. My dawter 
is at sea. I have bin set up in bizniss as a coke 
marchint, and have turned the old front parler into a 
orfis and sample room. When Parlement isn't sitting I 
okasionally travels for orders with the old barrer, and 
Neddy in the shafts. He is well, but his teeth wants 
lookin' to. I am alone with Betsy and my own vicis, 
and the vicis troubles me least. 



CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION. 191 

The fust thing was to get a privit meetin' of Conser- 
vatif workmen at my own house, but it was no easy 
matter. It's wonderful what indifference there is on 
perlitekel matters among the lowly born. I tride the 
kobbler fust. " Didn't it never strike you, Bill," sez I, 
one evenin' when we was smokin' a pipe, " as how 
there's a deal o' Conservatit feelin' in the kountry if it 
could only be called fawth ?" 

He's a dreadfully slow old noosance ; it takes 'im a 
long time to git the meer bearins of a idee into his 
mind, and to see what yew mean ; also he's deaf. 

" A deal o' what feelin' ?" sez he, arter smokin' for 
a kwarter of an our without speakin' a word. 

" Conservatif feelin'," sez I, makin' a yeer trumpit 
with my fist, and bawlin' thro' that. 

" No dowt, no dowt," sez he in a foggy way. " Lor 
bless you, there's plenty o' things about as nobody 
takes no akkount of." 

" Conservatizm is a grand thing," sez I, tryin' 'im 
on another tack. 

"What is it?" sez he ; "I don't go much to the 
theaytres now." 

"O, it ain't a play," sez I. "Well, what is it?" 

sez he. "Why," sez I, "it's Let's see, what is 

it ?" ('Anged if I knew what it was for the minnit.) 
" Why, it's conservin' — presarvin', you know." 

" Ah !" sez the old brute, " don't talk to me," he sez. 
" There's nothin' out as'll beat the old-fashioned stitched 
sole with a little dubbin when the winter kums ; as for 
pegs, and all them noo-fashioned, everlastin' komper- 
zitions," he sez, "they ain't a bit o' good. Things 
must wear out." 

" You're a hidjut," sez I. 

u What ?" sez he, strainin' to ketch it, " I don't heer 
so sharp as I used, but maybe, maybe you're rite." 

** Would yer make one in a Conservatif deppytation ?" 
sez I, losin' my temper, and puttin' it to 'im plump 
throo my two fisties. 



192 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

"Oh, yes," sez he, meekly, " any think o' that sort, 
you know, for a change. I ain't had a day's outin' for 
fifteen yeer. Is it at the old Rye 'Ouse ?" 

I had much adoo to keep myself from fallin' on him, 
but I refraned, for it wouldn't . do to take damaged 
froot to Whiteall. I tride the milkman next, but he 
sed he wouldn't have nothink to do with it bekos we 
wasn't goin' in a van. 

"What was to be done ? It was evident I should 
never git 'em at this rate. There was nothink for it 
but a advertizement, so I put the follerin' in Gamp's 
Messenger and the Worm : — 

"A fortin for thrippence. The advertizer, a gentleman 
of propperty, havin' for menny yeers bin troubbled with a 
kough, akkumpanied with shootm' pains between the sholeders, 
but now feelin' better, will be 'appy to instruckt all pussons as 
kan kommand the abuv for registrashion fees in a lite and 
profitable bizniss, larnt in a day, and warrantid to put them 
in the same persition as he is hisself. 

" The money wantid not nessesarily for publickatibn, but 
as a guarantee of good faith. 

"Address X. Y. Z., kare of the koke marchint, Kolly- 
flour-alley, Seven Diles. 

"N.B. — Karpits beat and lite work dun with hoss and 
kart." ' 

The fust feller as arnsered in pusson was a kreetur 
with long filburt finger-nails, and a frock koat, wearin' 
a nooly-ironed hat, with "Solomon's Paris" printed in 
the inside, and patent lether boots evidently stitched in 
placis by a woman's lovin' hand. 

Before leaving the room Betsy put the chiny teapot, 
containin' her mother's weddin'-ring, our marridge 
sertifikit, and old Chigley's silver watch, in the kupbord, 
and locked the dore. 

" What is it ?" sez the man in the frock koat. " Any- 
think in this line ?" sez he, prodoocin a kompleat 
greasy letter writer. " I've korrisponded with all the 



CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION. 193 

nobilerty and most of the marchints of the large towns. 
We mite work together." 

" It's a deppytation to Witehall," sez I. " Ah," 
sez he, " it's no use tryin' London — that's bin worked 
too much a' ready. Yew mite do somethin' in Cornwall •, 
I've never heerd o' much going on there." 

u It's a Conservatif deppytation," sez I. u Oh," sez 
he, givin' a kind o' whissel, "politicks — I never thought 
o' that. Sum on 'em doesn't seem to do bad in that 
line either." 

" Are you a workin' man ?" sez I, 

" Well, yes," sez he, " I s'pose I am. Oh, yes, I've 
worked in a mill," he sez, gloomy, "though we're 
rayther slack jist at presint till the corn's in." 

" Well, then, we'll put you down as a corn-grinder's 
assistant," sez I, and I explaned to 'im what the skeem 
was. 

He liked it, and very soon sum other fellers kame, 
and they liked it too. One said it was what he had 
alius thawt was wantid. Another 'oped it might do 
good. By nitefall I had six on 'em reddy : the cobbler 
and the speshial correspondint aforesaid, likewise a rat- 
ketcher on strike, and three workin' akkountants who 
had bin thrown out of employment by Estournel not 
winnin' the Darby. We put 'em down as farriers' 
clarks. 

They kum to my house the next day by invitashion, 
and we at onse held a kommittee meetin', commencin' 
with a short temperanse lecture to deceeve the naybours 
as was hanging about the doors. Then we parsed a 
unanimus ressylootion that we should all receeve a 
honerary sum of five shillings a day, 2s. 6d. to be paid 
in advarnce ; and arter we had entered that in the 
minnits, I asked 'em to tee. But Betsy was very rude 
to 'em ; she pretended she couldn't find the tee-pot, and 
arter sekretly stintin' the dawg of his vittles, so that he 
tride to make a meel out of one of their kotes, she 
declared she was a goin' to the Sologikal Gardings with 

o 



194 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

a friend, and went out. But I was determined not to 
be beat ; so I made tee for 'em myself, and then went 
into the front shop, and left 'em to their meel ; and soon 
had the pleshur of lookin' at 'em all, as they sit enjoyin' 
of it, throo a little peep-hole which I had drilled throo 
the wall. 

There was another pusson standin' by the side of me 
by speshial appintment, made the nite before, and 
peepin' throo another little hole. A pusson high in 
orfis, a pusson well known in the public prints. He 
had kum to see if he thawt they'd do. 

" They're a dredful raggid lot," he sez, arter a few 
minnits, "and I wish yew'd picked 'em a little more 
broad across the chest. I'm afrade they won't do as 
they are ; you'd better take 'em down to Moses and 
Son's, and git 'em sum workmen's cloze, and yew can 
buy white weskits and black cloze for them two fat 
'uns as is kwarrellin about the shrimps, and make 
sekkyterries of 'em ; it'll give the thing a better look." 

Arter he'd gone we set to work and droo up the 
address. The feller in the frock kote would have it 
that it ought to begin with " Havin' a wife and twelve 
small children out o' work, we beg to submit ourselves 
to your honourable benevolense," but I thawt that style 
didn't seem kwite perlitekal enuff, so we did it in a 
more unfeelin' way. 

The next day was the eventfull day, and in the 
mornin' the follerin' appeared in all the Conservatif 
papers : — 

" We have very much pleasure in stating that to-day the 
Earl of Epsom and the Right Honorable Exchekker Ben 
will receeye a deppytation, representin' a noomerous body of 
workin' men, who, we beleeve, wish to convay to her Majesty's 
Ministers their entire approoyal of the korse pursood by 'em 
on Reform." 

I took 'em down in the mornin' to Moses, and dressed 
two of the sportin' akkountants as blacksmiths out for 



CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION 195 

the day. The man at fust tride severil of his soots on 
'em, but all on 'em was too big, and he.sed he s'posed 
they'd bin out some time on strike, for they was sartinly 
the leanist blacksmiths that had ever entered his shop. 
At larst, what with stuffin 'em in various plasis, we got 
the cloze to stick on, but it rekwired a kwarter of a 
pound of waddin' up each sleeve to make the mussels 
of their sturdy rite arms, and even then they looked drop- 
sikal rayther than strong. As for the other akkountant 
and the man in the frock kote, I bought 'em a black bob- 
tail and white weskit apiece, sich as treasurers and sekke- 
terries weers before committin' forgery upon the stage. 
I also added a stock, a pair of trousers with a fob to 
'em, pumps, and a kurly-brimmed 'at, so as to give 'em 
the air of men who, though they had raised theirselves 
by their own exershions, was still loyal to our anshient 
institootions and ways. They kicked vilent at the stock, 
and sed it hurt their chins ; but I told 'em this was 
a time to forgit all petty differenses, as we was engaged 
in a great work. They said it was a preshious dry 
work, and I was obliged to refresh 'em with beer, and 
it was wunderful 'ow the mixter disappeared now that 
the passij of their necks was stiaitened by the stocks. 

As for the kobbler, he appeared simply as a kobbler, 
and the ratketcher was attired as a farmer's boy, so that 
town and kountry might both be properly represented. 
I was dressed as a Seven Diles bird fansier in oliday 
costoom — a red flour'd weskit, a velveteen kote, gaiters, 
a yaller fogle, and a white hat with a black band. As 
soon as I had settled for their uniforms, and got em out 
of Moses', we started direckly for Downin-street. 

But we hadn't got far before the hidjut of a sekky- 
terry diskivered as he had left the address on the 
kounter of a publik-house, and we had to go back for 
it, where it was found with a bit of the korner tore off 
to lite the treasurer's pipe, and the landlord a readin of 
it oat loud at the bar, with a uneasy idee that it was a 
Feenian proklymashion. This vissit to the publik led 



196 MR SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

to a fresh drink all round, and by the time we had 
finished that, one o' the blacksmiths wanted trussin up 
afresh, for his mussels begun to give way. At larst I 
got em out into the street agin, and the march begun 
onse more. 

I walked ahead with the two blacksmiths, for they 
wantid lookin arter the most, the treasurer and the 
sekkyterry followed, and the kountryman and the 
kobbler brought up the rear. We'd got as far as Tra- 
falgar-sqware when on turnin round to look for em, we 
missed em all four. Under pretence of seein where 
they was gone to, the two blacksmiths went on too, and 
didn't come back, and there I was a-standin before 
St. Martin's Church alone, with the klock a pintin at a 
kwarter to twelve, while the appintment was fixed at 
eleven. 

I went back severil streets arter em — oh, how I 
wished I hadn't paid em in advarnce ! — and I looked in 
all the houses of the licensed vittlers, but all in vain ; 
at last I see a kroud at the bottom of Maiden-lane, and 
rekognisin our uniform in the distance, I rushed up and 
found our treasurer in the iron grasp of the law. 

" I've bin lookin for yer a long time, Jem," says the 
perleeseman kwite plessunt ; " where have you bin all 
this time, boy, eh ?" 

" I havn't dun nothink since Simmons's affair — I 
havn't, so help me, Peel," sez the treasurer. " Here, 
this gentleman kan speak to my karacter," sez he, as I 
kum up. 

" Oh," sez the perleeseman, " he is another of the 
skool, is he ?" kollarin me. " You must be up to sum 
pretty dusty affair this time anyhow," he sez, " you've 
all got on sich pretty kloze." 

" I can assure yew, my friend," says I with dignerty, 
" that you're mistook. We're a Conservatif deppyta- 
tion." 

" Yes," sez the perleesemen. " I know you are," he 
sez. " That's a very stale old dodge. You needn't say 



CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION. 197 

anythink to kriminate yourself," he sez to the treasurer, 
" but I should like to know where you got that weskit 
from." 

He was moving off, with us both under his wing, 
when sumhow his hart seemed to misgive him, and 
turnin to me, sez he, " As for you, you seems to me 
more of a old fool than anythink else, and I don't know 
yer — so you may go ; but take care what kumpany yew 
gits into anuther time." 

" Will yew oblige me by givin me the perlitekal 
address which is in the treasurer's pocket ?" sez I. "It 
won't be no use to yer to put in as everdence, bekos it 
isn't stamped." 

But he deklined, and I had to go away without it. 
For a few minnits this dredful blow seemed to have took 
away my resin. At larst I rekuvered myself suffishient 
to git the remnant of my forces into a kab, and, arter 
vainly tryin to write a noo address in pensil on the 
krown of my hat, arrived with 'em safe at Downin- 
street at a qwarter to one. 

At fust the porter thought they was rekroots, and 
told me to take em over to the Oss Guards, but when I 
sed that we was expektid, he took us up stares, one o' 
the miskreants meanly pinchin his leg as he was walkin* 
up before us, and callin it a joke. We was showed 
into a back room, and direckly the dore was shut, I 
began to place em in persition. I akted on the prin- 
serple adoptid in the packin of strawberries, puttin the 
sekkyterry and treasurer fust, in their white weskits, and 
the others behind em ; the blacksmiths was a dredful 
trouble, they seemed to be gettin more unmuskular every 
momint ; and one on em, arter wobblin about in a un- 
sartin way for two or three minnits, suddinly bekum 
qwite limp and sunk down upon a chair. I remon- 
strated with him, but he sed he had got the tooth-ake 
and began to kry. 

What was to be dun ? I could heer rootsteps ap- 
proachin — not a minnit was to be lost. I lifted him up 



198 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

in my arms and wedged im in the korner, puttin the 
kountryman and the kobbler before him so as nothink 
but his hair could be seen, and I had hardly dun so be- 
fore a door at the other end of the apartment opened, 
and in walked Epsom and Ben. 

The site of them two fasis steadied em all in a in- 
stant, though the one in the korner remarked out loud 
to hisself that Epsom " hadn't got sich a hook to his 
nose as he seemed to have in the pikters -," but I don't 
think it was heerd. Alter that he fell asleep, and didn't 
trouble us much more. 

I stepped forard, and addressin Epsom, sed — " My 
lord, I havin kwite by charnce kum to yeer that a great 
number of my frends and nayburs residin in one of the 
most poppylus districks in this vast metropylis desired to 
express to your lordship their sentiments on the subject 
of Reform, I took the liberty to undertake to intriduse 
em to your lordship, which I now do, and to arsk your 
lordship to listen to a address which has been unfort- 
nitly mislaid owin to the suddin and alarmin indisposition 
of the treasurer ; but the sekkyterry will tell your lord- 
ship as much on it as he can remember." 

Ben, I thawt, looked skornful. Why so ? I had 
dun my best. 

I then nudged the sekkyterry and told him to begin, 
but the kritter had got so suddenly nervous before 
Epsom that for sum sekunds he could only garsp " My 
lord," as if he was goin to ask for a glarse o' water. 
At larst, arter severil false starts, he got off pretty fairly 
with the furst words of the address : — 

" My lord, we, the representatifs of the Conservatif 
intelligence of the country" — and he stopped agin, and 
turned round and looked at me. 

" Go on," sez I. 

"What's next?" sez he. "What was it as kum 
arter the blot ?" 

" In counsel assembled, beg " sez I. 

" In counsel assembled. Beg — beg — beg — beg," sez 



CONSERVATIVE WORKMEN'S DEPUTATION. 199 

he. " Go on," sez I. " Pull up your boot," sez one 
of the blacksmiths. 

" To offer five to one," sez he, guessin at it. " No," 
he sez, " I don't mean that." 

" Beg to rekwest," sez I. 

" Beg to rekwest," sez he, perspirin. "I say, guv'nor," 
he sez, turnin round, "this is worth more than five 
shillins a day." 

It was getting dredful. Epsom was beginnin to put 
on one of his seveerest frowns, and though I kast a 
pleadin look at Ben, he turned his fase the other way. 
The only thing that could save us was a bold move. I 
pushed the sekkyterry aside, and sez I : 

" Beg to rekwest that, follerin a anshient Eastern kus- 
tom, my lord, you will allow us to stoop down and 
black your boot. We feel, my lord, that if sumthing 
of this sort is not done, and done rapidly, reverense will 
die out of the land Nay, my lord, do not inter- 
rupt us," I sez, in a rich, eggy voise, " we must speak 
— we have been silint too long, and we now raise our 
voises under temptations wich few men could resist. 
My lord, we likes your Reform Bill, we likes you, we 
likes your Chansellor, we likes Waipul, we likes your 
cheild. Brain loves yew, my lord," I sez, pintin to my 
hed ; " mussel admires yew," pintin to the blacksmith's 
sleeve. " Agrikultur looks upon yew as its prize turnip," 
noddin towards the ratketcher in the smock; "and 
propperty and intelligence," I sez, pinting to the sekky- 
terry, " looks on you as more preshious than all the 
ornyments hangin from its fob. We are workers with 
brain and with mussel, with pitchfork and with pen, and 
we have simply kum to say, Go on in the path yew have 
chuz. Continu to wire in on that line, and yew will 
have all these mighty forses behind yew to incorridge 
you with their promptins whenever yew feels inklined 
to pant by the way. My lord, we do not represent our- 
selves only ; there is thousands more like us in this varst 
town ; thousands who would have bin glad to kum heer 



200 MR. SPROUTS HIS OPINIONS. 

to-day if they could have bin let out. I think that's 
about all." (Cheers.) 

Epsom's reply was breef. " This is indeed, gentle- 
men," he sez, " a pleasin surprise. I aksept your kind 
expreshions with pleshure," he sez, " for your perfes- 
sion is not to talk, but to do ; yew have no doubt in 
your time dun a good many" — here he stopped to take 
a pinch of snuff — " good works," he continued, " and 
it is perticklerly kind of you to now kum forrard to do 
me" — here a messenjer havin arrived for him, he sent 
word he should not be long — "the honour yew have. 
It is yew, and pussons like yew, gentlemen, that we 
should have no fear of enfranchisin ; that we have all 
along bin tryin to enfranchise, for it is in their power in 
the State that we see the best garantee for ours. Go 
back," he sez, loftily, " go back, men of cunnin fingers, 
brauny-chestid sons of tile, and tell the men you repre- 
sents that we feels as their interests is ours, and that their 
prinserples is the prinserples as guides us. For arter all, 
though the objecks on which we work is different, the 
ob]ec\i for which we work is the same-, though yew 
operates on the individual, while we performs on the 
nashion, still Providence has dekreed one end to both 
our acktiverties, and we should both be designated by 
the same word. Adoo," he sez, " and take care while 
you are goin ome that nobody pelts you." 

Ben deklined to speak — he sed his hart was too full. 

Arter cordially thankin the noble lord for his atten- 
tion, the deppytation withdroo, severil of the Treasury 
porters and a soljer off dooty kindly lendin their assist- 
ance. 

We went arterwards and saw some rattin sports, and 
wound up the evenin in a very plessunt way. 

Josef Sprouts. 



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8 


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AN EXTRAORDINARY BOOK. 
Beautifully printed, thick 8vo., new, half morocco, Roxburghe, 12s. 6d. 

Hotten's Edition of "Contes Drolatiques" (Droll Tales 

collected from the Abbeys of Loraine). Par B A.LZAC. With Four Hundred 
and If wenty-five Marvellous, Extravagant, and Fantastic Woodcuts by Gust ate 
Doee. 

%* The most singular designs ever attempted by any artist. This book is a fund 
of amusement. So crammed is it with pictures that even the contents ar« adorned 
with thirty-three illustrations. Direct application must be made to Mr. Rotten for 
this work. 

THE ORIGINAL EDITION OF JOE MILLER'S JESTS. 1739. Price 9s. 6d. 

Joe Miller's Jests : or, the Wit's Vade-Mecum; a Collection 

of the most brilliant Jests, politest Repartees, most elegant Bons Mots, and 
most pleasant short Stories in the English Language. An interesting specimen 
of remarkable facsimile, 8vo., half morocco, price 9s. 6d. London : printed 
by T. Read, 1739. 

Only a very few copies of this humorous book have been reproduced. 

This day, handsomely printed on toned paper, price 3s. 6d. ; cheap edition, Is. 

Hotten's "Josh Billings: His Book of Sayings;" with 

Introduction by E. P. Hlfl GSTON, companion of Artemus Ward when on 

his "Travels." 
\* For many years past the sayings and comicalities of "Josh Billings" have 
been quoted in our newspapers. His humour is of a quieter kind, more aphoristi- 
cal!y comic, than the fun and drollery of the "delicious Artemus," as Charles 
Reade styles the Showman. If Artemus Ward may be called the comic story-teller 
of his time, '* Josh" can certainly be dubbed the comic essayist of hia day. 
Although promised some time ago, Mr. Billings' " Book" has only just appeared, 
but it contains all his best and most mirth-provoking articles. 

This day, in three vols, crown 8vo., cloth, neat. 

Orpheus C. Kerr Papers. The Original American Edition, 

in Three Series, complete. Three vols., 8vo., cloth; sells at £1. 2s. 6d., now 

specially offered at 15s. 
* # * A most mirth-provoking work. It was first introduced into this country by 
the English officers who were quartered during the late war on the Canadian 
frontier. They found it one of the drollest pieces of composition they had ever 
met with, and so brought copies over for the delectation of their friends. 

Orpheus C. Kerr [Office Seeker] Papers. First Series, 

Edited by E. P. HINGSTON. Price Is. 

THACKERAY AND GEORGE CRUIKSHANK^ 

In small 8vo., cloth, very neat, price 4s. 6d. 

Thackeray's Humour. Illustrated by the Pencil of George 

CRUIKSffANK. Twenty-four Humorous Designs executed by this inimi- 
table artist in the year 1839-40, as illustrations to " The Fatal Boots " and 
" The Diary of Barber Cox," with letterpress descriptions suggested by the 
late Mr. Thackeray. 

John Camden Rotten, 74 Sf 75, Piccadilly, London. 



10 NEW BOOKS. 



THE ENGLISH GUSTAVE DOEfe. 

This day, in 4to., handsomely printed, cloth gilt, price 7s. 6d. j with plates 

uncoloured, 6s. 

The Hatchet-Throwers ; with Thirty-six Illustrations, 

coloured after the Inimitably Grotesque Drawings of Eenest Gbiset. 

%* Comprises the astonishing adventures of Three Ancient Mariners, the 
Brothers Brass of Bristol, Mr. Corker, and Mungo Midge 

" A Munchausen sort of book. The drawings by M. Griset are very powerful 
and eccentric." — Saturday Review. 

This day, in Crown 8vo., uniform with " Biglow Papers," price 3s. 6d. 

Wit and Humour. By the "Autocrat of the Breakfast 

Table." A volume of delightfully humorous Poems, very similar to the mirth- 
ful verses of Tom Hood. Eeaders will not be disappointed with this work. 

Cheap edition, handsomely printed, price Is. 

Vere Vereker : a Comic Story, by Thomas Hood, with 

Punning Illustrations. By William Brunton - . 
* # * One of the most amusing volumes which have been published for a long 
time. For a piece of broad humour, of the highly-sensational kind, it is perhaps 
the best piece of literary fun by Tom Hood. 

Immediately, at all the Libraries. 

Cent, per Cent. : a Story written upon a Bill Stamp. By 

BLANCHAED JEBEOLD. With numerous coloured illustrations in the 
style of the late Mr. Leech's charming designs. 
%* A Story of " The Vampires of London," as they were pithily termed in a 
recent notorious case, and one of undoubted interest. 



AN ENTIRELY NEW BOOK OF DELIGHTFUL FAIRY TALES. 
Now ready, square 12mo., handsomely printed on toned paper, in cloth, green 
and gold, price 4s. 6d. plain, 5s. 6d. coloured (by post 6d. extra). 

Family Fairy Tales: or, Glimpses of Elfland at Heatherston 

Hall. Edited by CHOLMONDELEY PENNELL, Author of "Puck on 
Pegasus," &c, adorned with beautiful pictures of " My Lord Lion," " King 
Uggermugger," and other great folks. 
%* This charming volume of Original Tales has been universally praised by the 
critical press. 

Pansie : a Child Story, the Last Literary Effort of 

Nathaniel Hawthorne. 12mo., price 6d. 

Rip Van Winkle : and the " Story of Sleepy Hollow." 

By WASHINGTON IEYING. Foolscap 8vo., very neatly printed on toned 
paper, illustrated cover, 6d. 

Anecdotes of the Green Room and Stage ; or, Leaves from 

an Actor's Note-Book, at Home and Abroad. By GEOEGE VANDENHOFF. 

Post 8vo,, pp. 336, price 2s. 
%* Includes original anecdotes of the Keans (father and son), the two Kembles, 
Macready, Cooke, Liston, Farren, Elliston, Braham and his Sons, Phelps, Buck- 
stone, Webster, Charles Matthews, Siddons, Vestris, Helen Faucit, Mrs. Nisbet, 
Miss Cushman, Miss O'Neil, Mrs. Glover, Mrs. Charles Kean, Eachel, Eistori, and 
many other dramatic celebrities. 

John Camden Rotten, 74 Sf 75, Piccadilly, London, 



NEW BOOKS. U 



Berjeau's (P. C.) Book of Dogs : the Varieties of Dogs as 

they are found in Old Sculptures, Pictures, Engravings, and Books. 1865. 
Half-morocco, the sides richly lettered with gold, 7s. 6d. 
%* In this very interesting volume are 52 plates, facsimiled from rare old En- 
gravings, Paintings, Sculptures, &c, in which may be traced over 100 varieties of 
dogs known to the ancients. 

This day, elegantly printed, pp. 96, wrapper Is., cloth 2s., post free. 

Carlyle on the Choice of Books. The Inaugural Address 

of THOMAS CARLYLE, with Memoir, Anecdotes, Two Portraits, and View 
of his House in Chelsea. The "Address" is reprinted from The Times" 
carefully compared with twelve other reports, and is believed to be the most 
accurate yet printed. 
*** The leader in the Daily Telegraph, April 25th, largely quotes from the above 
t( Memoir " 

In Fcap. 8vo., cloth, price 3s. 6d. beautifully printed. 

Gog and Magog; or, the History of the Guildhall Giants. 

With some Account of the Giants which guard English and Continental Cities. 

By F. W. FAIRHOLT, F.S.A. With Illustrations on Wood by the author, 

coloured and plain. 
%* The critiques which have appeared upon this amusing little work have been 
uniformly favourable. The Art Journal says, in a long article, that it thoroughly 
explains who these old giants were, the position they occupied in popular mytho- 
logy, the origin of their names, and a score of other matters, all of much interest 
in throwing a light upon fabulous portions of our history. 

Now ready, handsomely printed, price Is. 6d. 

Hints on Hats; adapted to the Heads of the People. 

By HENRY MELTON, of Regent Street. With curious woodcuts of the 
various style of Hats worn at different periods. 
%* Anecdotes of eminent and fashionable personages are given, and a fund of 
interesting information relative to the History of Costume and change of tastes 
may be found scattered through its pages. 

This day, handsomely bound, pp. 550, price 7s. 6d. 

History of Playing Cards: with Anecdotes of their Use in 

Ancient and Modern Games, Conjuring, Fortune-Telling, and Card-sharping. 
With Sixty curious illustrations on toned paper. Skill and Sleight-of-Hand ; 
Gambling and Calculation ; Cartomancy and Cheating ; Old Games and 
Gaming-Houses; Card Revels and Blind Hookey j Piquet and Vingt-et-un ; 
Wbist and Cribbage ; Old-fashioned Tricks. 
" A highly-interesting volume." — Morning Post. 

This day, in 2 vols., 8vo., very handsomely printed, price 16s. 
THE HOUSEHOLD STORIES OF ENGLAND. 

Popular Romances of the West of England ; or, the Drolls 

of Old Cornwall. Collected and edited by ROBERT HUNT, F.R.S. 

For an analysis of this important work see printed description, which may be 
obtained gratis at the publisher's. 

Many of the stories are remarkable for their wild poetic beauty ; others surprise 
us by their quaintness ; whilst others, again, show forth a tragic force which can 
only be associated with those rude ages which existed long before the period of 
authentic history. 

Mr. George Cruikshank has supplied two wonderful pictures as illustrations to 
the work. One is a portrait of Giant Bolster, a personage twelve miles high. 

John, Camden Rotten, 74 $ 75, Piccadilly, London. 



12 NEW BOOKS. 



Pp. 336, handsomely printed, cloth extra, price 3s. 6d. 

Holidays with Hobgoblins ; or, Talk of Strange Things. 

By DUDLEY COSTELLO. With humorous engravings by Georgb 
Cruikshank. Amongst the chapters may be enumerated : Shaving a Ghost; 
Superstitions and Traditions ; Monsters; the Ghost of Pit Pond; the Watcher 
of the Dead ; the Haunted House near Hampstead ; Dragons, Griffins, and 
Salamanders ; Alchemy and Gunpowder ; Mother Shipton ; Bird History ; 
Witchcraft and Old Boguey ; Crabs ; Lobsters ; the Apparition of Monsieur 
Bodry. 

SUPPLEMENTARY VOLUME TO HONE'S WORKS. 
In preparation, thick 8vo., uniform with " Year-Book," pp. 800. 

Hone's Scrap Book. A Supplementary Volume to the 

«• Every -Day Book," the "Year-Book," and the "Table- Book." From the 
MSS. of the late WILLIAM HONE, with upwards of One Hundred and Fifty 
engravings of curious or eccentric objects. 

BARNUM'S NEW BOOK. 

Hnmbngs of the World. By P. T. Barnum. Pp. 320. 

crown 8vo., cloth extra, 4s. 6d. 
" A most vivacious book, and a very readable one."— Globe. 
" The history of Old Adams and his grisly bears is inimitable." — Athen&um. 
"A History of Humbugs by the Prince of Humbugs ! What book can be more 
promising ? " — Saturday Review. 

A KEEPSAKE FOR SMOKERS. 

This day, 48m o., beautifully printed from silver-faced type, cloth, very neat, 

gilt edges, price 2s. 6d. 

Smoker's Text Book. By J. Hamer, F.B.S.L. This 

exquisite little volume comprises the most important passages from the works 
of eminent men written in favour of the much-abused weed. Its compilation 
was suggested by a remark made by Sir Bulwer Lytton : — 
u A pipe is a great comforter, a pleasant soother. The man who smokes thinks 
like a sage and acts like a Samaritan." 

%* A few copies have been choicely bound in calf antique and morocco, price 
10s. 6d. each. 

A NEW BOOK BY THE LATE MR. THACKERAY. 

The Student's Quarter; or, Paris Life Five-and-Twenty 

Years Since. By the late WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY. With 
numerous coloured illustrations after designs made at the time. 

%* For these interesting sketches of French literature and art, made im- 
mediately after the Revolution of 1830, the reading world is indebted to a gentlemen 
in Paris, veho has carefully preserved the original papers up to the present time. 

Thackeray : the Humorist and the Man of Letters. The 

Story of his Life and Literary Labours. With some particulars of his Early 
Career never before made public. By THEODORE TAYLOR, Esq., Membre 
de la Societe des gens de Lettres. Price 7s. 6d. 

%* Illustrated with Photographic Portrait (one of the mo9t characteristic known 
to havfl been taken) by Ernest Edwards, B.A. ; view of Mr. Thackeray's House, 
built after a favourite design of the great novelist's; facsimile of his Handwriting, 
long noted in London literary circles for its exquisite neatness ; and a curious life 
sketch of his Coat of Arms, a pen and pencil humorously introduced as the crest, 
the motto, " Nobilitas est sola virtus " (Virtue is the sole nobility). 

John Camden Kotten, 74 4* 75, Piccadilly, London. 



NEW BOOKS. 13 



This day, neatly printed, price Is. 6d. ; by post Is. 8d. 

Mental Exertion : its Influence on Health. By Dr. 

BRIGHAM. Edited, with additional Notes, by Dr. ARTHUR LEARED, 
Physician to the Great Northern Hospital. This is a highly important little 
book, showing how far we may educate the mind without injuring the body. 
%* The recent untimely deaths of *Admiral Fitzroy and Mr. Prescott, whose 

minds gave way under excessive mental exertion, fully illustrate the importance 

of the subject. 

EVERY HOUSEKEEPER SHOULD POSSESS A COPY. 
Now ready, in cloth, price 2s. 6d. j by post 2s. 8d. 

The Housekeeper's Assistant; a Collection of the most 

valuable Recipes, carefully written down for future use, by Mrs. B 

during her forty years' active service. 
As much as two guineas has been paid for a copy of this invaluable little work. 

How to See Scotland; or, a Fortnight in the Highlands 

for £6. 

A plain and practical guide.— Price Is. 

Now ready, 8vo., price Is. 

List of British Plants. Compiled and Arranged by Alex 

%* This comparative List of British Plants was drawn up for the use of the 
country botanist, to show the differences in opinion which exist between different 
authors as to the number of species which ought to be reckoned within the compass 
of the Jlora of Great Britain. 

Now ready, price 2s. 6d. ; by post 2s. lOd. 

Dictionary of the Oldest Words in the English Language, 

from the Semi-Saxon Period of a.d. 1250 to 1300; consisting of an Alphabetical 
Inventory of Every Word found in the Printed English Literature of the 13th 
Century, by the late HERBERT COLERIDGE, Secretary to the Philological 
Society. 8 vo., neat half morocco. 
%* An invaluable work to historical students and those interested in linguistic 
pursuits. 

The School and College Slang of Ecgland; or, Glossaries 

of the Words and Phrases peculiar to the Six great Educational Establishments 
of the country.— Preparing. 

This day, in Crown 8vo., handsomely printed, price 7s. 6d. 

Glossary of all the Words, Phrases, and Customs peculiar 

to Winchester College. 

See " School Life at Winchester College," recently published. 

Eohson; a Sketch, by Augustus Sala. An Interesting 

Biography, with Sketches of his famous characters, "Jem Baggs," " Boots at 
the Swan," " The Yellow Dwarf," " Daddy Hardacre," &c. Price 6d. 

In preparation, Crown 8vo., handsomely printed. 

The Curiosities of Flagellation: an Anecdotal History 

of the Birch in Ancient and Modern Times : its Use as a Religious Stimulant, 
and as a Corrector of Morals in all A ges. With some quaint illustrations. By 
J. G. BEKTRAND, Author of " The Harvest of the Sea," &c. 

John Camden Motien, 74 4* 75, Piccadilly , London. 



14 NEW BOOKS. 



In 1 vol., with 300 Drawings from Nature, 2s. 6d. plain, 4s. 6d. coloured by hand. 

The Young Botanist: a Popular Guide to Elementary 

Botany. By T. S. KALPH, of the Linnaean Society. 
\* An excellent book for the young beginner. The objects selected as illustra- 
tions are either easy of access as specimens of wild plants, or are common in 
gardens. 

Common Prayer. Illustrated by Holbein and Albert Durer. 

With Wood Engravings of the " Life of Christ," rich woodcut border on every 
page of Fruit and Flowers ; also the Dance of Death, a singularly curious 
series after Holbein, with Scriptural Quotations and Proverbs in the Margin. 
Square 8vo., cloth neat, exquisitely printed on tinted paper, price 8s. 6d. ; in 
dark morocco, very plain and neat, with block in the Elizabethan style 
impressed on the sides, gilt edges, 16s. 6d. 

Apply direct for this exquisite volume. 

AN APPROPRIATE BOOK TO ILLUMINATE. 

* # * The attention of those who practise the beautiful art of Illuminating is 

requested to the following sumptuous volume : — 

The Presentation Book of Common Prayer. Illustrated 

with Elegant Ornamental Borders in red and black, from " Books of Hours " 
and Illuminated Missals, by GEOFFREY TORY. One of the most tasteful and 
beautiful books ever printed. May now be seen at all booksellers. 
Although the price is only a few shillings (7s. 6d. in plain cloth ; 8s. 6d. antique 
do. ; 14s. 6d. morocco extra), this edition is so prized by artists that, at the 
South Kensington and other important Art Schools, copies are kept for the 
use of students. 

Now ready, in 8vo., on tinted paper, nearly 350 pages, very neat, price 5s. 

Family History of the English Counties: Descriptive 

Account of Twenty Thousand most Curious and Rare Books, Old Tracts, 

Ancient Manuscripts, Engravings, and Privately-printed Family Papers, 

relating to the History of almost every Landed Estate and Old English Family 

in the Country ; interspersed with nearly Two Thousand Original Anecdotes, 

Topographical and Antiquarian Notes. By JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN. 

By far the largest collection of English and Welsh Topography and Family 

History ever formed. Each article has a small price affixed for the convenience of 

those who may desire to possess any book or tract that interests them. 

AN INTERESTING VOLUME TO ANTIQUARIES. 
Now ready, 4to., half morocco, handsomely printed, price 7s. 6d. 

Army Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers in the Civil 

War. 
%* These most curious Lists show on which side the gentlemen of England were 
to be found during the great conflict between the King and the Parliament. Only 
a very few copies have been most carefully reprinted on paper that will gladden the 
heart of the lover of choice books. 

Folio, exquisitely printed on toned paper, with numerous Etchings, &c, price 28s. 

Millais Family, the Lineage and Pedigree of, recording 

its History from 1331 to 1865, by J. B. Payne, with Illustrations from Designs 
by the Author. 
* # * Of this beautiful volume only sixty copies have been privately printed for 
presents to the several members of the family. The work is magnificently bound in 
blue and gold. These are believed to be the only etchings of an heraldic character 
ever designed and engraved by the distinguished artist of the name. 
Apply direct for this work. 

John Camden Hotten, 74 Sf 75, Piccadilly, London. 



NEW BOOKS. 15 



Now ready, 12mo., very choicely printed, price 6s. 6d. 

London Directory for 1-77, the Earliest Known List of 

the London Merchants. See Review in the Times, Jan. 22. 

%* This curious little volume has been reprinted verbatim from one of the only 
two copies known to be in existence. It contains an Introduction pointing out 
some of the principal persons mentioned in the list. For historical and genea- 
logical purposes the little book is of the greatest value. Herein will be found the 
originators of many of the great firms and co-partnerships which have prospered 
through two pregnant centuries, and which exist some of them in nearly the same 
names at this d y. Its most distinctive feature is the early severance which it 
marks of "goldsmiths that keep running cashes," precursors of the modern 
bankers, from the mass of the merchants of London. 

Now ready, price 5s. ; by post, on roller, 5s. 4d. 

Magna Charta. An Exact Facsimile of the Original 

Document preserved in the British Museum, very carefully drawn, and printed 
on fine plate paper, nearly 3 feet loDg by 2 feet wide, with the Arms and Seals 
of the Barons elaborately emblazoned in gold and colours, a.d. 1215. 

*»* Copied by express permission, and the only correct drawing of the Great 
Charter ever taken. Handsomely framed and glazed, in carved oak of an antique 
pattern, 22s. 6d. It is uniform with the " Roll of Battle Abbey." 

A full translation, wjth Notes, has just been prepared, price 6d. 

NEW BOOK BY PROFESSOR RENAN'S ASSOCIATE. 
Exquisitely printed, 12mo., cloth, very neat, price 3s. 6d. 

Apollonius of Tyana: the Pagan or False Christ of the 

Third Century. An Essay. By ALBERT REVILLE, Pastor of the Walloon 
Church at Rotterdam. Authorized translation. 

%* A most curious account of an attempt to revive Paganism in the third 
century by means of a false Christ. Strange to say, the principal events in the life 
of Apollonius are almost identical with the Gospel narrative. Apollonius was born 
in a mysterious way about the same time as Christ. After a period of preparation 
came a Passion, then a Resurrection, and an Ascension. In many other respects 
the parallel is equally extraordinary. 

In the press, 4to. Part I. 

The Celtic Tumuli of Dorsetshire : an Account of Personal 

and other Researches on the Sepulchral Mounds of the Durotiges; forming the 
First Part of a Description of the Primeval Antiquities of the County. 

In small 4to. handsomely printed, Is. 6d. 

Esholt in Airedale, Yorkshire: the Cistercian Priory of 



St. Leonard, Account of, with View of Esholt Hall. 



ANECDOTES OF THE " LONG PARLIAMENT " OF 1645. 
Now ready, in 4to., half morocco, choicely printed, price 7s. 6d. 

The Mysteries of the Good Old Cause : Sarcastic Notices 

of those Members of the Long Parliament that held places, both Civil and 
Military, contrary to the Self-denying Ordinance of April 3, 1645 ; with the 
sums of money and lands they divided among themselves. 

%* Gives many curious particulars about the famous Assembly not mentioned by 
historians or biographers. The history of almost every county in England receives 
some illustration from it. Genealogists and antiquaries will find in it much interest- 
ing matter. 

John Camden Sotten, 74 4* 75, Piccadilly, London. 



16 USEFUL AND AMUSING BOOKS. 

Now ready, in 4to., very handsomely printed, with curious woodcut initial letters, 

extra cloth, 18s. ; or crimson morocco extra, the sides and back covered 

in rich fleur-de-lys, gold tooling, 55s. 

Roll of Carlaverlock, with the Arms of the Earls, Barons, 

and Knights who were present at the Siege of this Castle in Scotland, 26 
Edward I., a.d. 1300; including the Original Anglo-Norman Poem, and an 
English Translation of the MS. in the British Museum ; the whole newly edited 
by THOMAS WEIGHT, Esq., M.A., F.S.A. 

%* A very handsome volume, and a delightful one to lovers of Heraldry, as it is 

the earliest blazon or arms known to exist. 

UNIFORM WITH " MAGNA CHARTA." 

Roll of Battle Abbey; or, a List of the Principal Warriors 

who came over from Normandy with William the Conqueror and settled in this 
country, a.d. 10b6-7, from Authentic Documents, very carefully drawn, and 
printed on fine plate paper, nearly three feet long by two feet wide, with the 
Arms of the principal Barons elaborately emblazoned in gold and colours, price 
5s. j by post, on roller, 5s. 4d. 

%* A most curious document, and of the greatest interest, as the descendants 
of nearly all these Norman Conquerors are at this moment living amongst us. No 
names are believed to be in this " Battel Boll," which are not fully entitled to the 
distinction. 
Handsomely framed and glazed, in carved oak of an antique pattern, price 22s. 6d. 

Warrant to Execute Charles I. An Exact Facsimile of this 

Important Document in the House of Lords, with the Fifty-nine Signatures 
of the Regicides, and Corresponding Seals, admirably executed on paper made 
to imitate the Original Document, 22 in. by 14 in. Price 2s. ; by post, 2s. 4sd. 
Handsomely framed and glazed, in carved oak of an antique pattern, 14s. 6d. 

Now ready. 

Warrant to Execute Mary Queen of Scots. The Exact 

Facsimile of this Important Document, including the Signature Queen Eliza- 
beth and Facsimile of the Great Seal, on tinted paper, made to imitate the 
original MS. Safe on roller, 2s. ; by post, 2s. 4d. 
Handsomely framed and glazed, in carved oak of an antique pattern, 14s. 6d. 

In 1 vol., 4to., on tinted paper, with 19 large and most curious Plates in facsimile, 
coloured by hand, including an ancient View of the City of Waterford. 

Illuminated Charter-Roll of Waterford, Temp. Eichaid II. 

Price to Subscribers, 20s. ; Non-subscribers, 30s. 

* # * Of the very limited impression proposed, more than 150 copies have already 
been subscribed for. Amongst the Corporation Muniments of the City of Water- 
ford is preserved an ancient Illuminated Roll, of great interest and beauty, com- 
prising all the early Charters and Grants to the City of Waterford, from the time 
of Henry II. to Richard II. Full-length Portraits of each King adorn the margin, 
varying from eight to nine inches in length— some in armour and some in robes of 
state, In addition are Portraits of an Archbishop in full canonicals, of a Chancellor, 
and of many of the chief Burgesses of the City of Waterford, as well as singularly- 
curious Portraits of the Mayors of Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, and Cork, figured 
for the most part in the quaint bipartite costume of the Second Richard's reign, 
peculiarities of that of Edward III. Altogether this ancient work of art is unique 
of its kind in Ireland, and deserves to be rescued from oblivion. 

fyjohn Cammn Sbtt A * 74 $ Ih^iccadilly, London. 














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